SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — As part of the Great Savannah Cleanup, the Savannah Tree Foundation invited volunteers to tidy up the area surrounding what’s believed to be downtown Savannah’s oldest live oak.
On Saturday, people in the community came out to clear trash and pick up weeds near the Candler Oak across from Forsyth Park.
“The Candler Oak is named after the Candler Hospital, which was once in the building behind us,” said Savannah Tree Foundation executive director Zoe Rinker, referencing the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Ruskin Hall.
Rinker says the tree is over 300 years and likely predates the founding of the City of Savannah,
“It’s our job to make sure that the tree is taken care of, and that includes making sure it’s weeded and using volunteers to clean up trash,” Rinker told WSAV NOW.
Volunteers also helped collect acorns from the tree while learning how to use those acorns to grow the trees of tomorrow.
“We’re going to plant those, they’re going to become live oaks somewhere else around the county and continue our tree canopy,” Rinker said.
She says urban trees and the local urban forest are a cornerstone of Savannah’s community.
“When you think about Savannah, you think about our trees and our wonderful coastal forest, so we have to take care of these trees in order to maintain the trees we have, and especially old beautiful specimens like this,” Rinker said, gesturing to the Candler Oak.
Rinker says trees benefit the environment by cleaning the air, helping manage storm water and providing shade during the warmer months.
“They’re just such a great asset that we have to do our part to take care of them, and this is kind of us just giving back a little bit,” Rinker said.
She notes that the Savannah Tree Foundation is hosting a native tree sale on their website through the end of October.
“Planting season starts Nov. 1 and goes through mid-March, and that’s the best time to plant a tree here,” Rinker said.