Preserving the Past, Growing the Future: Trees, Our Living Legacy, the theme of the Garden Club of America’s Centennial Celebration, was incorporated by our club with the planting of a Charter Oak (White Oak – Quercus alba) at Saxe Middle School on Arbor Day in April 2009. This gift to our town of a native tree also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the New Canaan Garden Club.
The New Canaan Garden Club board proposed the planting of a tree as it celebrated our roots as a club. Over the years the New Canaan Garden Club has planted many trees in New Canaan and has sponsored numerous tree sales promoting conservation and civic beautification.
The site at the middle school was selected with the thought that such a stately tree should be planted on South Avenue, a main entry to our town, and that the children should be involved with the project, three of whom read essays they had written on the history of the Charter Oak and two on global warming and the environmental impact of planting a tree, at the dedication. The students represent our future.
The occasion was photographed highlighting club and town officials and students from the middle school. The photo appeared in the New Canaan Advertiser to give public notice to the event.
The Charter Oak plays an important part in Connecticut state history, dating back to 1687; the tree was chosen not only for that reason, but also to fill the requirements for the centennial project “to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, and to restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement”.
Our goal is to care for the tree through its growth and when it matures, gather acorns to grow saplings for future planting in our community. This will be an on-going project for years to come.
In the immediate future, to start this community planting plan, we will gather acorns from a few very old Charter Oaks on private properties in town, all of which supposedly were started from the original Charter Oak in Hartford. For more information on the history of the Charter Oak, please visit our state website www.ct.gov: The State Tree.