by Micah Wilkins, Staff Writer (mwilkins@wwc)
Students arrived on campus last week to a large pile of wood chips on the Cowpie lawn, in place of the tall white oak tree that used to stand where the fresh mulch is now scattered. Or as junior Julia Page likes to call it, “tree corpse.”
And there’s more “corpse” where that came from.
“We saved every bit of the tree that was worth saving,” said Landscaping Crew Supervisor Tom LaMuraglia.
According to LaMuraglia, the white oak had been sick and dying for the past few years.
“Over the past 10 years we have been doing everything we can, by putting compost and mulch [around the tree], and we injected some nutrients into the soil,” LaMuraglia said. “We found beetles in the tree a couple years ago, and we injected it some more, and it still gave up and died.”
LaMuraglia also holds intermittent droughts since the mid-80s accountable for the degradation of the tree’s health.
Page, who used to swing on the tree’s timber and rope swing that hung from one of the plant’s dying limbs, says the tree will be missed greatly.
“I miss the tree,” Page said. “It had sentimental value. It’s been here forever and it was a really cool tree. I think people do have fond memories of it.”
During Earth Day last year, the community was notified that the tree would soon be removed from the Cowpie lawn, and students were given the opportunity to have their photo taken with the tree, and to say their farewells.
“Even before school it was over it was determined that it wasn’t going to make it,” LaMuraglia said. “So it was no surprise. Everyone was given the opportunity to say their goodbyes.”
“At this point in time we’re not going to plant another tree there. But it leaves a big whole in the sky right now.”