The two diseased historic oak trees at the high school have found new life


Highland Park High School (HPHS) has taken tree hugging to a higher level. A group of students at the school are advocating for a way to hug one’s favorite tree(s) at any time of the day or night through a type of reincarnation, more accurately known as repurposing. In particular, Highland Park High School Sophomore Sophia McDermott-Hughes is dedicating her time and energy to the soulful repurposing of the two historic HPHS front-lawn oak trees into objects that one can admire, use, and/or hug if one is so inclined.

According to 16-year old Sophia, “there were these two magnificent, history-rich oak trees that have been part of this town for up to 180 years. They died and instead of letting history go to waste, I wanted to help make something beautiful and lasting out of it.” Well-known for her commitment to sustainability, she is co-president of the high school environmental club, which is running the tree repurposing campaign with the support of the Highland Park High School Principal Michael Lassiter and the Highland Park High School Green Team.

Here is what Sophia wrote for a Go-Fund-Me site:

“For 180 years, before Highland Park High School was even built, two magnificent oak trees have shaded the front lawn. They have watched over every school day and graduation. Every memory of the high school was formed in the shade of these two trees. Sadly, they were diseased and began to pose a threat to public safety. They were cut down on December 27th. The school has commissioned several works of art to be made from their sustainably repurposed wood. Even in death, these trees will continue to be part of the school. Please donate whatever you can to help with these efforts. In return for your generous contribution, Nature’s Fell is offering beautiful products hand–crafted from the wood of these magnificent trees.

*Because of the need to dry and cure the wood properly, your orders will take about one year to be ready for pick-up at Highland Park High School.

*Please indicate what you are ordering in the comments box that appears when you click ‘donate.’

*Also indicate if you are ordering multiples. (The price you enter should reflect the number of the order, e.g., 2 x the price of the item if you are are ordering 2, etc.)

*Please contact Scott Alexander at Nature’s Fell (732-624-9011) to arrange for a custom order.

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