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Earth Day Savannah Event Highlights Historic Tree

Candler Oak. Photo credit: Juliana Blessington.

Savannah will celebrate Earth Day this Saturday, April 15, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in Forsyth Park. Karen Jenkins, executive director of Savannah Tree Foundation, says they will highlight a piece of Savannah history in their Earth Day events.

“This year we’ll do a tree walk with one of our board members and sort of walk through the Forsyth Park arboretum talking about the different tree species in Forsyth Park,” Jenkins explained. “After the tree walk, we’ll end at the Candler Oak tree right opposite Forsyth Park on Drayton Street and talk about the Tree Foundation’s work to preserve the Candler Oak tree and then have volunteers help us pull the weeds from underneath the Candler Oak. It’s one of the few times during the year where volunteers or anyone really can come with us through the gate under the tree and get up close and personal with that big, beautiful tree.”

The tree was deeded to Savannah Tree Foundation in the 1980’s. Ever since they have worked to preserve this piece of history that stands beside what’s now Savannah Law School, but was originally Candler Hospital.

“We have a historic picture showing the tree in the late 1890’s and suspect it might have been about a hundred years old then,” Jenkins said. “We think it’s close to 250 or 300 years old. Contrary to the tour bus drivers who go by, it’s not the biggest or the oldest tree in Savannah. It is just a big, old tree and thankfully it’s still standing on private property in the heart of a very busy commercial area. If you think 60’ by 100’ you could put a really big building there but thankfully we have a big old tree with a lot of history of our community.”

Hear more about the history of the Candler Oak in the audio link below.  Learn more about Savannah’s Earth Day Festival happening this Saturday in Forsyth Park, at EarthDaySavannah.org. Connect with the Savannah Tree Foundation at SavannahTreeFoundation.org.