Strong Storm Knocks Over 150-Year-Old Oak Tree

Eric J. Kos

 

Maya Lin School community says ‘bye’ to oldest member

Last Thursday’s storm brought strong wind gusts and continuous rain that undermined the root system of a California live oak tree that has lived on the Maya Lin Elementary School campus since the 1860s. 

Less than a week prior to the first day of winter, the Island City withstood its first major storm. No other significant damage was reported other than the felling of the tree, estimated to be 150 years old. Prior to human settlement, Alameda was covered with a forest of such trees, which, with its sister forest in Oakland, is said to have been the largest group of these oaks anywhere in the world. 

Maya Lin Principal Judy Goodwin gathered the children before the downed tree last Friday morning to help the community process the loss. 

The assembly ended with teachers, students and parents saying, “We love you, old tree!” in unison. One student quipped while the assembly dispersed, “Good. We’re done. I don’t care about that tree.” Apparently the youth would rather get back to learning multiplication tables instead of mourning a plant.

For other students, there were tears, especially when Goodwin handed each of them a piece of the tree as they left at the end of the school day last Friday. 

As of press time, school district officials were considering using wood from the tree to create benches for parks planned at Alameda Point.