Friday, August 31, 2012

$aving a Camperdown? Yes!

 The stately Camperdown Elm on Amherst College Campus released from Death Row

Amherst College has wisely decided that you can't really put a price on a majestic historic treasure like their almost one of kind (in Amherst anyway) Camperdown elm.

Yes, Amherst's largest landowner and second best liberal arts college in America will pay the $100,000 cost to safely relocate the Camperdown to a new spot on Pratt Field rather than simply cut it down and chalk it up to collateral damage in the $12.5 million renovation project.

 Trees on both sides of the Camperdown will not survive realignment of track

Amherst College Director of Facilities Jim Brassord announced the stunning news last night to a group of concerned neighbors (concerned about the Camperdown, noise, traffic, etc) while giving them an update on plans for the major construction project impacting their neighborhood. The project starts after the football season finishes this fall. 

 Camperdown Elm will provide shade for generations of Amherst College students to come

Nobody knows for sure when the tree was planted, but just over a 120 years ago, when Pratt Field was first constructed is a pretty good bet.  And yes they can easily live to be 200 or more years old.

Sure $100K is a lot of money, but less than 1% of the overall budget for the project.
 Amherst Shade Tree Committee wrote to College President Biddy Martin pleading for  Camperdown's salvation

All the Camperdowns in existence today emanate from a single tree created by grafting a mutant alien branch found on the forest floor to a Wych elm on the estate of the Earl of Camperdown in Dundee, Scotland circa 1835.

Combine that unique pedigree with the weeping nature of Camperdown canopy and it's no wonder it attracts an almost religious like following among tree lovers.

Historical preservation at its finest


Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that Amherst College is willing to spend $100,000 to move a TREE so that it can be preserved during the renovation project but they are not willint to spend a dime to move Little Red Schoolhouse so that a quality pre-school program with a 75 year history can be preserved during the building of the new science building.
Don't get me wrong - I think it's great that they care about the tree. I love trees, especially this beautiful elm of a variety I have never heard of before. What I don't get is why they are so ready to spend the $100K to preserve a tree but are not willing to spend one dime to protect such a quality pre-school that has impacted the lives of hundreds of students over the years! Why won't they do both? The cost to move the school is also a very tiny fraction of the cost of the new science building. It just seems very odd to me.

Anonymous said...

Some well-to-do alum who loves the tree probably increased a donation by $100K if it were moved (still pretty stressful on the tree - hope it survives the process).

All you need to do is find a donor to move LRSH....

Anonymous said...

No wonder it cost $67K to attend Amherst College.