Three tales of the gift of trees

Gift of food: Community orchard project
11.22.18
The gift of lemonade
11.25.18

Imagine a gift that year after year kept us healthy and happy. It’s possible when you gift a tree! Our tree gifting program is a lovely and enduring way to honor or remember somebody beloved. We plant all gifted trees at schools, where future generations can benefit from their life and beauty.

Here are the stories behind three tree gifts donated this year:

C.D. Spangler

Any North Carolinian worth her dogwood knows the name C.D. Spangler, a state icon who fought for so much good during his life. A Charlotte native and UNC graduate, Spangler would have been notable simply for his billion-dollar success in business. But it was his work in education that most will remember.

As a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member, Spangler advocated for public schools during the difficult days of integration. When he became president of the UNC system, Spangler fiercely defended keeping tuition low to attract students from all walks. Spangler died this year at the age of 86.

“I chose the gift of a living tree for Dick Spangler because he was a master woodworker, loved the outdoors, had built so much of this community, and given so much to so many,” said Joan Zimmerman. “A tree seemed to represent his life – branching out in so many directions, giving life, and always reaching for the sky.”

C.D. Spangler’s tree gift was planted at Reedy Creek Elementary.

Adam Whiting

To become a certified yoga teacher, you must undergo 200 hours of training. With a time commitment like that, you sure hope your teacher is engaging. In the case of 14 students who took Adam Whiting’s class, he exceeded expectations. So this fall, the students gifted Whiting a tree to express their gratitude.

“We had a wonderful experience with him; we learned so much,” said Laura Leigh Adams. “We created a terrific bond.”

The class members often compared Whiting’s teaching to planting seeds of knowledge that would thrive in their own unique ways. A tree perfectly represented those sentiments.

“He has so much knowledge and so willingly gives it,” Adams said. “He opened his heart and threw it into the training.”

Whiting’s tree was planted at Reedy Creek Elementary.

Kim Hombs

Kim Hombs is no stranger to the tree community. She serves on the city’s tree commission, hosted a tree walk for the community in her neighborhood and had the winning entry in last year’s Tree of the Year competition. And, she’s started a group called Trees, Bees and All of These, which holds regular meetings to discuss the rapid loss of green space.

Now, she’ll have a tree planted in her honor thanks to her colleagues at the vet clinic she owns, Atrium Animal Hospital.

“Dr. Hombs is not just our boss, she is our fearless leader!” said Suzanne Paden. “When it came to thinking about Boss’s Day, we wanted to honor her in a way that reflects her passion and heart for the Earth and all the life that calls it home. She balances a devotion to best medicine and fiercely protecting what she knows to be true.”

Dr. Kim Hombs’ tree was planted at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary.

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