AU Breathes New Life into an Old Tree

Ingrid Schmidt

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Over Easter Break, Ashland University had an eagle carved into the stump of the historical pine tree on Founders lawn that had to be cut down this winter.

According to Rick Ewing, vice president of facilities management and planning, the tree was about 140 years old, meaning it dates back to the founding of the university.  Ewing said the pine tree can be considered one of the university’s “starting points.”

Ewing said that the university had been struggling to the keep the historic tree alive for about 5 years but “unfortunately, we just weren’t able to save it.”

Ewing said that he and some others in the facilities department decided a carving would be the best way to commemorate the tree and its historical significance at AU.  He said that “just doing a simple carving, in the shape of an eagle, obviously to represent the university, was brought up by one of my grounds guys and we kind of ran with it.”

Ewing said that he is very happy with how the carving turned out, even though there are some finished touches he would like to add.

 “I think it’s a very good eagle.  We’re still going to do a little bit of work to it, I want to apply some stain to it to kind of give it a little more definition so it stands out a little more,” Ewing said.  “I also want to get a plaque on the stump to identify and commemorate why it’s there.”

When students and faculty came back from Easter break to see the eagle, they were originally off put Ewing said.

“I think it was a surprise,” Ewing said.  “I don’t think people saw it coming, but so far I haven’t gotten any negative feedback on it.  I think it’s kind of a neat thing.”

The only question the facilities department has gotten about the eagle was about the height of the carving.

“Some people have questioned why it’s so high, and to be quite honest it’s to kind of keep it out of reach,” Ewing said.

However Ewing feels that the height of the carving only adds to its beauty.

“It is quite prominent up there, I think it fits well with the arch which is next to it,” Ewing said, “So I think it has turned out very well.”

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