In memoriam of the tree: what should we use its remains for?

By Riley Dauber
Elm Staff Writer

On Wed., Sept, 15th, the American beech tree near William Smith Hall was damaged in a storm, causing many of its branches to fall off.

A decision was made to remove the tree, which took place over several days.

Now all that remains of the tree is a stump, and there’s one question on everyone’s lips: what should we do with the tree?

Thanks to an onslaught of emails about the tree, students and faculty are aware of what will be done with the remains.

“With time to dry and mill, some of these branches will be made into furniture to be used on campus in the coming year,” Westlund said in a Sept. 16 email.

Although the remains of the tree will be used to make furniture, why stop there? Here are a few ideas for what can be done with the American Beech tree now that it has been cut down.

Furniture

The original idea for the remains of the tree was to make furniture.

According to Westlund, the furniture will be used throughout campus. However, since the tree was in front of William Smith Hall, it may be appropriate to place the furniture inside.

They could either be used in the classrooms or in the Norman James Theatre.

With this option, the furniture is near where the tree once was, and not just sprinkled throughout campus.

“The only wish I have regarding the tree’s remains is that it is used purposefully,” freshman Morgan Carlson said, whose first year seminar class revolves around trees.

“So far I love all of the ideas for the tree’s remains, which include building furniture, using tree wheels for environmental science classes, and using small wedges to create art,” Carlson said.

Commemorative Bench

Other than the furniture idea, a commemorative bench in honor of the tree seems to be an obvious choice.

There are many benches throughout campus dedicated to alumni, faculty members, or people in the community; a bench could also be built to remember the tree.

In similar fashion to the furniture, the bench would be made from the wood of the tree and would be placed by William Smith Hall, right where the tree used to be. It is also functional, since students or faculty could sit on the bench.

Commemorative Sign

A sign dedicated to the memory of the tree would also be an appropriate use for the wood, and could possibly be paired up with another idea, like the furniture or the bench.

The sign could be placed in the grass, around the place where the tree was. Then, as students and faculty walk past Smith Hall, they would see the sign and remember the tree.

Regardless of the decision, students and faculty at Washington College hope that the remains of the American Beech tree will be put to good use.

“I appreciated seeing [the tree] on my walk to class,” Carlson said. “Hopefully, [the college’s] response will foster a stronger appreciation for the campus trees within the faculty and student body.”

Photo by Izze Rios

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