Master Arborist to visit James Island to discuss “all things Live Oak” By Charlie Morrison | Community Editor
The recent close-call on the removal of Johns Island’s beloved “Angel Oak” tree has the grassroots, environmental community abuzz with talk of municipalities potentially loosening their regulations regarding grand trees.
Environmental activists County-wide have begun taking steps to first find, then preserve trees intangibly deemed to be special trees … trees like the Angel Oak. That in mind, James Island-based tree preservation advocacy group “Will You Miss These Trees?” is hosting Beaufort-based Master Arborist Michael P. Murphy for a lesson in tree hunting. Murphy will be making the short drive up the coast to present “In Search of an Angel Oak of Their Own: An Island’s Search for Special Trees.” The event, a de-facto kickoff to James Island’s own tree treasure hunt, will be held Tuesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) auditorium, and is open and free to the public.
Murphy was invited to regale attendees with the story of his two-year project to identify a tree older than the 300-year old City of Beaufort, as part of the city’s tri-centennial anniversary celebration. Murphy succeeded in his effort to find Beaufort their own “special tree,” their own Angel Oak, when he discovered a 350- to 400-year old Live Oak with a nearly 10-foot in diameter trunk, on land that was formerly the Cherry Hill Plantation. Murphy’s successful effort to locate that tree, an effort conducted over a two-year period from 2009 to 2011, has island residents wondering if the same search would pay off here on James Island. Murphy has been honored for excellence in arboriculture, including as New Jersey’s Arborist of the Year. He is a former instructor in Arboriculture and a lecturer on “All Things Live Oak.” Murphy’s company, Preservation Tree Care, Inc. merged with Bartlett Tree Expert Co., where Murphy is manager of the company’s Beaufort office. He is an advisor for “Keep Beaufort County Beautiful,” and an advisory council member for Clemson Extension, Beaufort County.
James Island’s appreciation of Murphy’s talents is sure to be on full display at next Tuesday’s presentation, and apparently the feeling is mutual. Murphy is “looking forward to his visit here” and says “there is a lot of energy up there in James Island,” according to “Will You Miss These Trees?” representative Susan Millikan. Murphy will be presenting “In Search of an Angel Oak of Their Own: An Island’s Search for Special Trees,” on Tuesday, June 11 at 6 p.m., at the SCDNR auditorium, located at 217 Fort Johnson Rd. Admission is free. For more information, find “Will You MIss These Trees?”on Facebook or call 406-9616.