Saturday, February 19, 2011

Toomer's Corners Trees Poisoned

I've just begun following the story of the poisoning of the trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama.  For those of you who do not follow American college football, this story needs some background.  (And some full disclosure - my husband received his architecture degree from Auburn.) 

Auburn recently won the national championship. To celebrate any football victory the fans collect at Toomer's Corner.  (Toomer's is the drug store that is caddy corner to campus at that intersection.) Somewhat quaintly they still engage in the tradition of "rolling" Toomer's Corner - that is, wrapping toilet paper around the trees. 

Now comes the dastardly poisoning. Football rivalries, especially in the South, run incredibly deep.  Many Alabamans decide whether they are "for" Auburn, or for University of Alabama, at a very young age.  So, for one Alabama fan, Auburn winning the national championship caused emotion to overtake reason.  This fan took some herbicide and poisoned the trees.  The dose was probably fatal, but Auburn's groundskeeping crew is doing their best to save them.  The man who allegedly poisoned the trees has been arrested and charges, and Auburn fans are rallying today in sympathy for the trees.

Jamie Baker Roskie

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What I have found so interesting about the story is how the poisoner got caught -- he called a radio talk show and bragged about his action.

There is something particularly intriguing about trees, plants, and landscape features as focal points of school pride or as mascots. No matter what team you root for in this story, the trees are merely subjects to be dominated and vandalized. Sure one form of vandalize prevents the other form of vandalism but hard to describe either side as really pro-tree. I wonder what legal tree expert Irus Braverman would have to say about it [].

Posted by: Jessica Owley | Feb 19, 2011 12:54:22 PM

Jamie, this should put you all on notice: when UGA wins the championship, all of you Athenians need to keep an eye on The Tree That Owns Itself!

Posted by: Matt Festa | Feb 19, 2011 2:26:21 PM

Jessica -

Really excellent point about the trees! My husband has told me that the "rolling" and cleaning out the paper afterward is very stressful for the trees. There's even a Facbook page called "Stop rolling Toomer's Corner."

Posted by: Jamie Baker Roskie | Feb 21, 2011 7:51:57 AM