It will be two years since the Lee County Old Courthouse oak tree had to be removed and was carved into an eagle by artist, Marlin Miller. Prior to that, a Lee County Department of Transportation employee picked up some of the acorns, knowing the importance of the tree's history, and took the time to plant them. Some of those saplings have now become part of Lee County's landscape, providing the legacy of the great tree.
Approximately 200 saplings have been growing over the last two years at the DOT Operations Nursery. In April 2013, LCDOT felt that the saplings were ready to leave the nursery and gave away 145 of the saplings to be planted throughout Lee County. The majority of the trees were donated to Yvonne Murray Lewis, Senior Program Specialist for Caloosahatchee Regional Park, which held an Earth Day presentation with the second grade class at Alva Elementary School. The children were given a lesson on how and where to plant them properly, and the importance of trees in the environment. Some of the trees were planted at the school while the others were taken home by the students.
Another 30 trees were planted by students as part of an Earth Day event with a goal to plant 100 trees in the median in front of the Oasis Middle School in Cape Coral. Other trees were planted in Moody Park, Estero Community Park, and the Edison Home/Allen Park area, to name a few.
Commissioner Frank Mann also participated in guaranteeing the legacy of tree lives on. "My aide and I gathered and planted several hundred acorns from the mighty tree. About half of them germinated and I continue to give them away. Several weeks ago I distributed about 50 to community leaders in Lehigh Acres. So the Court House Oak legacy continues all over that great community as well," he said.
LCDOT has a few of the saplings available. If interested, call Mike Williams or Bob DeBrock, 239-533-9400.