Replanting Wormsloe’s Avenue of Oaks

Rotary Club of Savannah aims to make sure future generations get to experience one of Savannah’s most iconic landmarks

(L-R) Marjorie Young, President of Rotary Club of Savannah; Frank Moore, Rotary Club of Savannah; Gretchen Greminger, Wormsloe Historic Site Manager, GA Dept. of Natural Resources; Jake Henry, Savannah Tree Foundation; Rabbi Robert Haas, Sect/Treasurer Rotary Club of Savannah; Sydney Young, Savannah Tree Foundation; Lynda Beam, co-founder of the Savannah Tree Foundation; Steve Chick - Rotary Club of Savannah; Capt. Lux Lakshman, Sgt of Arms, Rotary Club of Savannah; Steve Stephens, Rotary Club of Savannah.
(L-R) Marjorie Young, President of Rotary Club of Savannah; Frank Moore, Rotary Club of Savannah; Gretchen Greminger, Wormsloe Historic Site Manager, GA Dept. of Natural Resources; Jake Henry, Savannah Tree Foundation; Rabbi Robert Haas, Sect/Treasurer Rotary Club of Savannah; Sydney Young, Savannah Tree Foundation; Lynda Beam, co-founder of the Savannah Tree Foundation; Steve Chick - Rotary Club of Savannah; Capt. Lux Lakshman, Sgt of Arms, Rotary Club of Savannah; Steve Stephens, Rotary Club of Savannah.

Visitors and residents alike have a deep appreciation and respect for the majestic beauty of Savannah’s many live oaks lining the city streets.

Perhaps none are more famous, though, than the mile-and-a-half “Avenue of Oaks” leading to the Wormsloe Plantation, featured often in movies, television shows, and myriad family wedding portraits.

The Rotary Club of Savannah’s new president, Marjorie Young, knew when she took the position that she wanted to incorporate the newest Rotary Club “Area of Focus” of supporting the environment into her platform for the downtown club.

In a quest to serve, she was drawn to a familiar place.

“I often walk the long road at Wormsloe,” Young said. “During one of these walks, I noticed how many gaps there were in the trees. The trees needed a lot of help.

” With years of professional marketing under her belt, she knew who she had to call. She knew her Rotary Club had to do something.

“I contacted Gretchen Greminger, Wormsloe Historic Site Manager, and asked, ‘How can we help?’”

The entrance to the Wormsloe Historic Site, home to Wormsloe Plantation, is lined with almost 400 Georgia live oaks, spaced roughly 20 feet apart. Yet, anyone driving through cannot help but see the noticeable gaps where trees have been lost to weather, age, and/or other natural causes. However, as Young learned from a recent visit to the site with some of her fellow Rotarians, of these many storied and photographed trees, 76 are at risk and in desperate need of help.

“We really appreciated all of the information and tree education that Lynda Beam, Sydney Young, and Jake Henry from the Savannah Tree Foundation shared with us,” Young said. “Because of our visit and our members letting us know about their passion for this issue, The Rotary Club of Savannah is committing to work with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Gretchen Greminger to start a project to help with the live oaks.

”The first phase of the plan is for The Rotary Club of Savannah to raise money to replace ten of the 76 gaps on the Avenue of Oaks. Two-year-old live oak trees raised at nurseries throughout Georgia will be planted in their place, already standing at ten to twelve feet tall.

”The Rotary Club of Savannah has committed to pay for the first ten.

“Each tree costs $500, so our fundraising goal is $5,000,” Young said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t want to raise more,” she said with a laugh.

“Then, on February 19, 2022, Georgia Arbor Day, we will be planting the trees at Wormsloe.”

Young added, “We are also planning a fundraiser for August 19 that will be open to the public. More information will be available soon on [The Rotary Club of Savannah’s]website.”

The Wormsloe Historic Site was founded by colonist, Noble Jones, who accompanied General James Edward Oglethorpe to Georgia in 1733. The drive was once part of Skidaway Road, leading to the original garden of a colonial estate.

The first—and oldest—of the famous oaks were originally planted in 1891. Live oak trees have been known to live for centuries.

Donations for the tree replanting project may be made directly to The Rotary Club of Savannah, at P.O. Box 11105, Savannah, GA 31412 or via their website at savrotary.org.

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