How are you going to spend Earth Day? You can go to all of the events on the Tech campus that are going to be held in honor of it. You can take part in planting trees somewhere, bother to miss that squirrel running across in front of your car, or use only one paper towel in the bathroom.
All of these are great, but one thing I would like to see people take away from Earth Day is just a strong fundamental sense of appreciation of the wonders of nature. The Tech campus itself is blessed with many natural wonders. We have probably all enjoyed the springtime flowers and birds singing, but then there are also the trees.
Because the trend over the past 50 years has been for most development to occur in the suburbs, the trees of downtown Atlanta (including those at Tech) have been spared and allowed to actually grow to old growth proportions in many cases. Keep a keen eye out around Tech’s campus and you can find oak trees which must have stood in their places for the last two or three hundred years.
That would mean they were already of shade tree size when cows and barns still dotted the hillsides around where Tech and Midtown stand today.
The two champion trees may be the water oak near the Student Center and a giant white oak that is located in a small parking lot along Dalney Street (there’s even an old farmhouse next to it).
Being that they each possess about a five-foot diameter, it is likely that both of these trees were alive when people were still riding horses through the streets of Atlanta. We should thank the campus grounds workers for taking good care of these trees and many others over the years here at Tech.