Emily Sierra Poertner
At the end of last school year, the Bittle tree, Roanoke College’s oldest tree on campus was removed. There was a ceremony in late April to commemorate the life of the tree and what it had come to mean to students and faculty at the college. It may be a reflection of the small area that Roanoke is, or just the affect that this school and this tree has had, but several local newspapers and TV stations reported on the removal of the tree. Â Roanoke College’s website has a video of the ceremony.
Shortly after the ceremony was over, removal of the tree began. All that was left by graduation was the Bittle Circle and the stump of the once grand tree. Affixed to other trees around the front quad were cameras that caught a time lapse video of the removal of the Bittle Tree, which is also up on Roanoke College’s website. The video ends with a quote by Marin Luther, “for in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver,” which accurately captures the love many people held for the Bittle Tree.
The Bittle Tree isn’t the only tree missing from campus this year though. Due to severe weather in Salem over the summer, several trees on campus also fell.
Now all that is left of the Bittle Tree are its three progeny planted by three of Roanoke College’s presidents and slightly different colored grass where the Bittle Circle used to be. The tree planted by President Maxey that was unveiled at the Bittle Tree ceremony is still in a growth tube supported by wooden spokes, but it has grown significantly since last spring.