The Angel Oak – And The TreeSpirit Project


The Angel Oak

3688 Angel Oak Rd.
Johns Island, SC

Image above posted with permission of the photographer, Jack Gescheidt.

This tree is a most worthwhile detour off of Highway 17 – south of Charleston, on Savannah Highway (US 17) you take Main Road to Johns Island.  You just keep going until you see a sign on your right.

I have a fondness for trees – perhaps, even more so – a respect for trees, so I was curious when I heard that Jack Gescheidt was including the Angel Oak in The TreeSpirit Project.  The Angel Oak is wondrous, how else could one describe it?  And to have it included in this less-than-conventional project – which has included such trees as the Memorial Oak Grove in Berkley, California and Tree Nine in the University of California – Santa Cruz campus – is an honor.

From the The TreeSpirit Project blog:

“On Saturday, May 14, 2011, about 40 of us Angel Oak Tree fans— plus the “Out On A Limb” (TreeSpirit documentary film) crew—made an unauthorized art photograph at The Angel Oak.

We did this to call attention to the Angel Oak’s being threatened by a large housing development.”

Go to The TreeSpirit Project blog to read more about the Charleston City police showing up… and other details regarding the photo shoot.

Forty acres of forest and adjacent wetlands surrounding The Angel Oak – trees and wetlands that buffer this tree during storms – are at the center of the on-going battle to protect the tree.  Go to to learn more about the folks locally that are working hard to protect this tree – perhaps there is something you can do to help.

I must admit when I first heard about The TreeSpirit Project, I was a bit skeptical.  I quickly thought to myself that it was some guys publicity stunt – and I probably even rolled my eyes a little.  But the more I thought about it, and after I saw the images (of The Angel Oak as well as other trees) – I was happy that The Angel Oak had been included in this project, and I thought that there was a simplicity to the image that spoke loudly and clearly about what is at the root (pardon the pun) of it all:  when we save a tree, we save a bit of ourselves.  We’re not so terribly different from trees – we all need a bit of protection now and then.

And as for the legality of the whole thing?  I hardly think that naked people hanging around a tree for 30 minutes or so is going to harm the planet anywhere near as much as destroying 40 acres of forest and paving over wetlands.  But that’s just my humble opinion.

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.
Howard Zinn