Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Herbie Project - an Effort to memorialize two lifetimes

I have been intrigued by an article I read yesterday in my local paper.

It told of a lifetime that has been spent in care of a tree. Not just any tree, but a tree that has spent 240 years towering over a small town in Maine.

Frank Knight has spent much of his time since the late 1950's caring for this tree. He helped to nurse it through 14 incursions with the Elm trees worst US threat. Dutch Elm's disease. Frank kept this tree alive and over the years it grew to a height of over 110 feet. A height that has allowed this town and it's residents to call it the "Largest Elm tree in New England"

Over those years, Frank became close with this tree and gave it a name. "Herbie" The name has stuck. The residents of Yarmouth Maine refer to this tree by name.

Just the history of this tree compels me to find a way to memorialize it. Not just the tree but the connection between Mr. Knight and the tree known as "Herbie"

On January 18, 2010 the largest Elm tree in New England will be cut down. It has lost the fight with Dutch elm disease.

I have had contact with the town offices in Yarmouth and plan to be involved in the "Herbie Project". What I will be able to create from this Elm that predates our nations birth depends on what I can see from within. I am looking to take a trip to Yarmouth in the next few days to view the tree in the natural setting prior to the saws starting the work of removing "Herbie".

I want to make a memorial piece from this tree that will capture the connection between Frank, "Herbie" and the town of Yarmouth.

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