The majestic Live Oak was dedicated as the South Carolina 2019 Heritage Tree of the Year Wednesday on the grounds of the Bennettsville Visitor Center with a bronze plaque.
The annual Arbor Day Celebration was also held.
Lois Edwards, an urban forester from Conway associated with the South Carolina Forestry Commission, said 2019 has been a big year for the city with its Bicentennial celebration.
“I can’t think of a better way to end 2019 Bicentennial year than with a tree presentation,” said Edwards, who is also a board member of Trees SC.
She added trees have been important to the history of the city for a long time.
Danny Jones of Tree SC said the trees are selected through a nomination process. All trees must be located on public property that is accessible to the public at no charge within the state.
The selection process is based on the tree’s significance (either historical, cultural or social to the community), demonstrated community value/appreciation of the tree, and the maintenance of the tree.
In 2004, Trees SC created the Heritage Tree Award Program, sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts.
It identifies, celebrates and recognizes trees throughout the state that have a historical or cultural significance as well as those trees that play an important role in our local communities.
Edwards said past Heritage Award winners include Angel Oak in Charleston, the Aiken’s Oak Allee, the Wade Hampton Oak in Conway, the Horse Shoe at the University of South Carolina, the Deerhead Oak in McClellanville, the White Oak in the town of Irmo, the Clemson University Centennial Bur Oak, the Southern Magnolia at Winthrop University, Trinity Oaks, the Eastern Allee of Magnolias at Redcliffe Plantation, the Ittiwan Oak, the American Elm in Greenville, Rose Hill’s Southern Magnolias and the General Greene at Congaree National Park.
Trees SC promotes the winners and encourages tourism to visit the locations with Heritage Award winners.