Monday, July 28, 2014

How to cut down a school tree

Before you cut it down, get two opinions. Ensure you can’t save it before arranging to have it felled.

While it’s still standing, visit each class. Explain what is going to happen, and why. Let the children ask questions. Answer them. Send a letter home to each family and let them know. Offer to answer their questions, too.

Hold a short ceremony at the base of the tree. Let the children tell stories. Honour the tree. Name the gifts of shade and clean air, and the place for birds and bugs and butterflies to rest. Acknowledge the countless times children have played among the roots, leaned against the trunk, and gazed into the branches. Say good-bye.

Have it felled. Have the branches sawn into six foot lengths, and scatter them around the grounds. The children will build them into cubbies. Have the trunk sawn into logs, and leave them in the schoolyard, too. Children will walk, climb, balance and sit on the logs, and watch the shadows dance.

Keep a special disc. Sand and polish it, and hang it in the front office for all to see.

Use a good arborist. He will leave a five foot trunk, and carve it into a throne.


A large old tree had to be removed from my daughters’ school recently. This is how it happened. Given the deep connections that many children form with special trees, it seemed just about right. Thanks Trevor and Chris and everyone else involved in the process.

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