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Base celebrates Earth Day and dedicates “survivor tree”

The Maxwell “survivor” tree was dedicated April 24 by 42nd Air Base Wing Commander Kris D. Beasley as part of Earth Day celebration. Planted in the fall at the corner of East Maxwell Boulevard and Magnolia Boulevard, the tree grew from a seed from a tree that survived the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamie Pitcher)

The Maxwell “survivor” tree was dedicated April 24 by 42nd Air Base Wing Commander Kris D. Beasley as part of Earth Day celebration. Planted in the fall at the corner of East Maxwell Boulevard and Magnolia Boulevard, the tree grew from a seed from a tree that survived the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jamie Pitcher)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Maxwell-Gunter celebrated Earth Day April 24 with several activities highlighted by the dedication of the "Survivor Tree" which was grown from a seed from an Elm tree that survived the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Col. Kris D. Beasley, commander of the 42nd Air Base Wing, officially dedicated the tree "in memory of the 168 innocent Americans who lost their lives in this domestic terror attack and those Americans who have lost their lives as a result of other terror attacks on American soil, including the events of September 11, 2001."

He declared it to be "a symbol of resilience in the face of trials, a symbol of strength that reflects the American spirit and the American people, and a symbol of hope and growth for our future." 

The ceremony was held where the seedling tree has been planted, at the corner of East Maxwell Boulevard and Magnolia Boulevard, near the Holm Center.

In 2000, seeds were taken from the Oklahoma Survivor Elm tree and distributed for commemorative tree planting events across the nation. Maxwell's Survivor Tree seedling was one of 15 grown by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Another special presentation was made during the tree dedication ceremony, one that has been in the works for some time according to Jane McCarthy, Maxwell's horticulturalist, who also maintains the base Arboretum.

New engraved tree identification signs for the whole of Maxwell's Arboretum were presented to Colonel Beasley.

Beth Osgood, who works for Maxwell Support Division Civil Engineering, said she is excited about how, in the near future, everyone will see the new signs spread throughout the area near the senior officers' quarters and stretching along Magnolia Boulevard toward the elementary school.

"The 45 signs present both interesting and scientific information concerning the trees, and highlight the amazing diversity of our natural resources," she said. "We want these signs to be a resource for the education of our young and for the enjoyment of all."

Ms. Osgood helped plan the ceremony along with Ms. McCarthy who nurtured the seedling at the base greenhouse until the tree was strong enough to be planted in its present spot earlier this year.

"I hope these beautiful plaques will enhance Maxwell's Arboretum for many years to come," she said.

At Maxwell's dedication ceremony, community guests included several members of the Montgomery Tree Committee that have been supportive of Maxwell's urban forestry events, Arbor Day celebrations, and other activities. In the past, they have brought in numerous free trees that Ms. McCarthy has nurtured at the base greenhouse.

During the ceremony the Montgomery Tree Committee was presented a Ring-Cupped Oak tree that is representative of Maxwell-Gunter. The Ring-Cupped Oak is an evergreen oak tree that is found on Maxwell's Academic Circle, but is not native to the area. The selected tree was sprouted from Maxwell's acorns, and represents the ties between Maxwell and the City of Montgomery.

In other events celebrating Earth Day during the week, environmental public awareness booths were at both commissaries that offered information on recycling, conservation, and pollution prevention; and base personnel were invited to a short field visit to one of the base wetlands to learn about the value and protection of these ecological areas that are unique to Maxwell.