HELP US PLAN ANGEL OAK PRESERVE
Lowcountry Land Trust is working with internationally-recognized landscape architect Nelson Byrd Woltz and a diverse steering committee to build a 44-acre preserve.
Unrivaled in its features and accessibility, the design will feature boardwalk trails, a nature play area for children and educational information about the tree and native people that have held this place sacred.
The process launched in the summer of 2022 and will include public meetings, surveys, and stakeholder interviews. The goal is to complete a design that honors the rural and cultural context of the land in early 2023.
MEET THE ANGEL OAK STEERING COMMITTEE
The magnificent tree known as Angel Oak, an icon of South Carolina’s Lowcountry region, is estimated to be centuries old. Native Americans once used the Angel Oak as a ceremonial meeting place.
The land surrounding the tree has also served as a plantation, a freedman's village, and a place where Johns Islanders, including Civil Rights activist Septima P. Clark, could rest under the shade.
In an interview from 1980, famous Civil Rights Activist Septima Poinsette Clark said:
“From the early days, Black people told their children stories about that tree. It was sacred, and it is sacred to them. Segregation was at its height, but the tree was not segregated. I don't really know who owned the tree, but they never segregated it so that we couldn’t go in. We would go in and have our picnic lunch, spend the day, the children would play under the tree, and then we would come back. There were ten black schools on the island and nearly all those teachers used the Angel Oak for their recreational programs."
In 2008, local nonprofit organizations like Coastal Conservation League and South Carolina Environmental Law Project, along with public entities, and community members, including LLT’s Angel Oak Project Manager Samantha Siegel, partnered to protect the tree and its surrounding ecosystem. The Angel Oak Effect is named after the grassroots effort that rallied and raised donations to save the tree after the surrounding 35 acres were approved for residential development.
In 2013, after joining the community-wide effort, Lowcountry Land Trust purchased those surrounding 35 acres of significant forest and wetlands to protect the landscape in perpetuity. Significant private and public funding allowed for this purchase; including but not limited to South Carolina Conservation Bank and the Charleston County Greenbelt Program funds.
Lowcountry Land Trust proudly stewards the Angel Oak Preserve initiative - a 10-year effort to unify an existing 9-acre city park with the surrounding 35 acres once threatened by insensitive development. The Charleston community celebrates the magnetic draw of the enormous, centuries-old tree known as Angel Oak - and Lowcountry Land Trust is working to highlight this immersive ambassador site for environmental conservation through the creation of Angel Oak Preserve.
THE EBB & FLOW BLOG: ANGEL OAK
CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC – Lowcountry Land Trust (LLT) has announced that, in partnership with a group of local stakeholders, it has selected Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (NBW) to lead