This past month has been a whirlwind of activity at Lowcountry Land Trust. Thanks to two gifts in memory of VAdm. Douglas C. Plate, a former board member of the Lowcountry Land Trust, we exceeded our $150,000 for the May Giving Challenge! The Henry M. Blackmer Foundation pledged $10,000, which unlocked a $5,000 gift from an anonymous donor to take us over $150,000. With overwhelming generosity even after the challenge ended, we raised more than $195,000 – our most successful effort ever!
Earlier this month I attended a meeting beneath the Angel Oak. At a time when more visitors than ever are making the pilgrimage to stand in the shadow of her sprawling crown, it was a privilege to have a near private audience with the ancient live oak. It was also my first meeting in the presence of others and not behind a computer in quite some time. It was an idyllic scene, particularly with the resurrection fern boldly displaying its colors as if it hadn’t appeared wilted and lost only days before.
The Angel Oak simultaneously exudes an inexplicable peace and a gentle energy. She invites you to connect with her on an existential level when you stand in her presence. How many others have stood in that place, tracing the intricate weaving of her branches with their eyes, and preparing for a meeting of the minds? How many of us are connected by her roots, sprawling in an unseen network of channels, far beyond the limits of the two-acre park owned and managed by the City of Charleston.
This past month has been for us a return: to the old way of things, to joy and to laughter. It was a wonder to be in the company of others at the Angel Oak last week, feeling the short-lived sunshine on our faces, and spinning in swirls of laughter as a coastal storm disrupted our best laid plans.
We call our work at the Angel Oak the “Angel Oak Effect” for the ethereal pull this magnificent tree has on our community. One of the many effects of this majestic tree is a fundamental awareness of our place on this earth and a reminder that we are stewards of its life-giving resources. The tree and the resurrection fern gracing her branches embody the Soul of the Lowcountry; a spirit that may sleep, but is ready to thrive again when conditions improve.
I hope that you too are reenergized, and are ready to connect anew with the land. Summer is a wonderful time to experience our native environments–go out and explore!
Your biggest fan,
President & CEO
Lowcountry Land Trust
THE ANGEL OAK EFFECT
an interview with Samantha Siegel
In 2008, Samantha Siegel took a stand and started a movement to save the Angel Oak and its surrounding land from impending development. Thanks to those efforts, we’re now working with the community to turn that land into the Angel Oak Preserve—a publicly accessible park with walking trails and historical, cultural, and environmental information. As we begin the early stages of the planning process, it was only right to bring Samantha back as a Project Manager to finish the work she started.
We caught up with Samantha in the midst of her organizing efforts to revisit the history of this movement and discuss what the Angel Oak Effect means to her.
Virtual Academy: Sewee Longleaf Conservation Cooperative, in partnership with the Longleaf Alliance, is hosting a virtual Longleaf Academy from July 5 – July 30. The Virtual Academy consists of a combination of on-demand and live learning experiences. Register here.