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Yesterday we drove to town to see the plinth, a concrete mass that stanchioned a 75-foot obelisk fashioned in 1897 from hand-hewn granite, to honor a sentinel of the Civil War.

After deconstruction of the obelisk, the plinth is what remains, a hidden stage that can support something much larger than itself. But plinths are not easy to fill, and we are running out of humans who meet the criteria – conquerors, kings or billionaires floating in space seem too commonplace anymore.

The new monument needs to capture our hearts. It must have earned the privilege, by helping us survive more carefully, on this planet that we have deconstructed over time.   

Let the human ego step aside now please, so we can choose something beautiful, life-giving and essential to our well-being, such as the 7th generation American Chestnut Tree, that has fed and sheltered us for centuries in Western North Carolina. Picture its likeness, a bronze mast towering over town center; its branches pointing in every direction, alerting passers-by to the plenitude and safety within its canopied reach. What a difference that would make!


Jean Cassidy 2021, Asheville, North Carolina


A group in Asheville, NC are proposing a broader, more inclusive way to think about art, public art and civic space that speaks to the entire populace. Please take a look at the link below, and include it in your planning for your #public spaces. #MONUMENTAL CONCERNS / THE REMODEL Let us know your thoughts.



Before 1900, some 4 billion American chestnut trees grew in its native range throughout the eastern U.S. The tree’s massive bulk provided the wood necessary to build log cabins, railroad ties, and fine furniture, among other things. Then, in 1904, an Asian fungus (to which the native chestnuts had no resistance) decimated the tree population. Today, scientists are trying to reintroduce resistant American chestnuts back into the wild.

Source: The American Chestnut Foundation

Please Visit Long Branch Environmental Education Center
Conservation, Education, Ecology, Design, Demonstration, Advocacy, Research, Restoration, and Sustainability.

Back crossed hybrids of the American chestnuts serve as a 7th Generation project for all the Appalachian mast-loving species – Black Bear, Whitetail Deer, Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse and Elk. Our nursery provides backcrossed hybrids of the American Chestnut trees. 

The tree is currently in the care of The American Chestnut Foundation, dedicated to breeding a blight-resistant tree, and bring it back to the forests of the Eastern United States.

The American chestnut tree was an essential component of the entire eastern U.S. ecosystem. A late-flowering, reliable, and productive tree, unaffected by seasonal frosts, it was the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife from bears to birds. Rural communities depended upon the annual nut harvest as a cash crop to feed livestock. The chestnut lumber industry was a major sector of rural economies. Chestnut wood is straight-grained and easily worked, lightweight and highly rot-resistant, making it ideal for fence posts, railroad ties, barn beams and home construction, as well as for fine furniture and musical instruments.

art and education, civil war, COMMUNITY, CULTURE, monuments, public art, trees

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