It is never just about finding ancient trees and collecting seed to preserve their genetics for generations to come. There is so much more – the human connection. Inevitably, when you find the ancient tree, there is a human guardian connected to it.
So is the case of the St Cuthberts white oak. The Lea family, back in 1818, was one of the founding families for the Leaside area. By 1890, the Lea’s donated land for construction of a church. There was no steeple built. The white oak that was present during construction acted as the focal point of the church. Today, to find the church just look to the sky and the giant white oak guides the way.
We were honored to meet the church representatives and tree enthusiasts last week on our quest to find this tree. Thanks to the tree guardians, this tree has received Heritage status and still graces the side of the church. Unfortunately, this great white oak is just a remnant of the old growth forest that once covered this terrain.
We are hoping that next year will not be a drought year and we will be back visiting the St Cuthberts white oak on a quest to retrieve acorns.