132a Protest
Franklin and Marshall College, 637 College Avenue, Lancaster PA (near Distler Hall)

Known as “the protest tree,” this White Ash was well over 100 years old when in 2015 it showed “irrevocable deterioration” from disease and had to be taken down [Tim Stuhldreher, LNP, Sept. 30, 2015]. During the five previous decades however, it served “as the signpost for student conviction and free expression of ideas,” a college spokesperson noted. Declarations posted on the tree’s trunk addressed such issues as the Vietnam and Iraq wars, police misbehavior, and the retention of particular faculty.  

Although a commemorative marker was initially contemplated, no trace of the tree remained in 2018.  But a new protest tree (a Sweetgum; see separate entry) now stands a mere 40 feet away.  

[Color photo by Richard Hertzler; b&w photo shows College President Keith Spalding in 1968.]

This amazing species readily forms trunk cavities if its top is broken and thus has great value to cavity nesters like red-headed, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers.


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