by Shawn Doonan
Narrowing the focus to our state’s register, Athens is home to 18 of Georgia’s State Champion Trees. One of the more notable trees with this designation is the Deodar Cedar, which is located in front of Chase Street Elementary School. Unfortunately, this tree experienced a devastating lightning strike, which has led to the general decline of the tree. Consequently, this tree was recently removed.
All of the trees on the on the national tree register have attained a point of maturity and in many cases are hundreds of years old. Mature trees, like elderly people, are less resilient than their younger counterparts to the trauma caused by climate change, severe weather events, and encroachment in the urban landscape. For this reason, they’re vanishing from our urban landscape. Therefore it’s more important than ever to start caring for the existing champion trees and replacing those that are threatened or have already passed to ensure that this program lives on for generations to come.