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A growing legacy

Class of 1950 passes tree stewardship to Class of 2000

As alumni stroll past Rollins Chapel during  reunions, many will pause to take in the  spectacular display of the yellowwood tree, drooping with scented blossoms and spreading  welcome shade across the Rollins Chapel lawn.  This is "Mollie's Tree," and it was planted by  the class of 1950 16 years ago in honor of Mollie  Hughes, author of Forever Green, a guide to campus trees published by the class as its 50th  reunion project. Mollie's Tree is also part of  the Class of 1950 Tree Planting Program.

"Mollie's Tree"
"Mollie's Tree," a yellowwood on the Rollins Chapel lawn (photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Bob Thebodo, Grounds Supervisor and former Tree Warden, says the program began in the 1960s after  storm damage and an onslaught of Dutch Elm  disease devastated many campus trees. "The class  stepped forward and adopted a program focused on  tree replacement," he said. "As a result,  Dartmouth dedicates about 10 new trees every year  and the fund subsidizes their care."

Not many would think of Hanover as an urban environment, but for trees it's a long way from  home. Construction, salt, and other factors work  against their survival.

The Katsura tree located west of Ripley Hall, the  Kentucky Coffee Tree in front of Sanborn House and several elms and maples around the Green were  all planted through the program.

At their 50th reunion in 2000, the class  bequeathed their program to the graduating class,  which has pledged to plant a new tree each  spring. At their fifth reunion in June, members  of the Class of 2000 will offer a Forever Green  Tree Walk, led by Thebodo.

"We want to keep the campus green," said Jay  Cormier, Class of 2000. "The connection between  our two classes is strengthened by the program  and it's an honor to carry it on. The Class of 1950 has helped us learn how to give back to the College and mentored us in our efforts."

By DIANA LAWRENCE

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Last Updated: 12/17/08