Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Oaks of Memory

The human toll of Hurricane Katrina has been well documented.... althought I fear that most Americans have moved on and aren't aware of just how slowly the reconstruction is taking. But there are glimmers of hope. One is the effort to save one of the coast's most treasured landmarks... the live oak. The Live Oak Rescue Mission is trying to save the beauties.
The Live Oak Rescue Mission is a joint venture between the Land Trust for Mississippi Coastal Plain, The Home Depot Foundation and many other state and federal agencies.
The goal is to nurture the centuries-old trees back to health by replacing the soil Katrina took away and applying a hefty dose of water, mulch and care.
"You'll find many people's memories of life here are tied into these trees," Land Trust Executive Director Judy Steckler said. "They have a huge emotional value for people in this community."
Volunteers began site restoration Nov. 29 along Beach Boulevard in Pascagoula, and have since restored more than 300 trees from Pascagoula to Ocean Springs.
Steckler says an estimated 200 more Live oaks still need restoration across the Coast. The entire project is scheduled for completion within two weeks.
The Home Depot Foundation is funding the majority of the project in cooperation with Land Trust and the U.S. Forest Service. The foundation has already donated more than $2 million for recovery efforts, on top of the $10 million The Home Depot has donated.

The Live Oaks are truly landmarks for the coast, and symbols of stability which are sorely needed now.
After my mom died, my cousins pitched in to buy the naming rights for her on one of the beautiful oaks on the property of the Episcopal church in Bay St. Louis. I have a picture of my daughter standing next to the tree, with the name of the grandmother she never met above her. The little tag on the tree is gone now, the church is washed away as well. All that is left is the slab and the oaks. Among them, mom's tree. Like the memories, the oaks live on.


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