Save Sandy


Sandy, a majestic, European beech tree, which thrives on the Dickinson’s academic quad, has the right to be saved. She is an active, and important member of the Dickinson family, her large size, low hanging branches and wide mulch circle provide shade in the spring, summer, and fall for members on the Dickinson community. She is not native to area, but she has adjusted so well. She can be used as a metaphor for immigration, assimilation, and diversity. She services so many purposes on campus it would a crime against the student body to cut her down. And even if you did cut her down, you would get much use out of her. Beech wood is relatively soft, and not great for building, it does not weather well, and can’t be used for anything outside. There are so many better kinds of wood to build with. Sandy, is liked by the student body, she would not be valuable cut down, she would be costly to remove because else is so big and she creates no harm. She is far from the side walk, her roots won’t disturb any man made structures that could coat the school money. It would be counter productive to cut Sandy down.

Give and Take

Use-Value or “anything that satisfies a human want” (The Marxist Glossary) are things that often come at a cost, the cost could be emotional, environmental, social, or self-harming. Things, that humans want, in our day and age, almost never are cost free. To focus on the want that directly impacts the environment, to bluntly, people take, more then they need, and then leave, leave harmful products to pollute and harm environment. Use- value, with in the environmental give and take, can be look at on many different levels, self, group, community, sociality. We, people, as beings, to survive, must take. Whereas trees, take and give back naturally. They don’t need to think about how they give back to the earth, where was with humans, it’s a process. Myself, as an induvial, must think about how I can give back to the earth and make and choice to do so, but I always take. Sandy, absorbs the CO2 that my car puts out, she provided shade for me, when I was writing my early blog posts in the heat of September. She provided color on the quad long after all the other trees changed, giving hope of fall staying forever. She lives without taking. Only giving. Much like the tree, the children’s book the giving tree. I have never given sandy anything, just like the boy in the book, he takes takes takes until all that’s left is a stump. Although I have not taken anything form sandy directly, her being, can be used as a metaphor for all of the other trees I have taken form. As a campus, we can be looked at similarly. But a little less aware. When we, as students, walk around campus, we throw trash on the ground. Plastic, relies toxic chemicals, which seeps in to the soil and hurt trees like sandy. We take life. We have readings as college students. We print out readings, papers, articles, and projects every day, on trees. We take to satisfy a want, not a need. We, as a society, take from the environment, water, natural composting items, sunlight (smog…). When you reflect on it, how can we expect trees like Sandy to grow? To thrive? And to provide, if we don’t give back. We take, for use-value, unfortunately that’s ingrained in our culture, I can’t society see that changing any time soon, but we don’t balance the take, with the right kind of give.


HEP or Human Exceptionalism Paradigm, the idea that humans cannot be affected by our failing world. HEP is displayed when people, think the environment is there to serve them, and the resources they rely on, will never run out, and if they do, it will not be at their own hands. Whereas NEP, is the opposite, NEP, a paradigm, which expresses that nature, or the environment is a ticking time bomb. We have to preserve it, because we are part of it, and depend on it. Sandy, my tree, unfortunately fits more in to the HEP paradigm. A tree planted, not in her natural habit, purely for astatic value. Although, she thrives, because our climate is similar to the climates of central Europe, it is not a native tree to the mid-Atlantic, United States. Sandy, is a beautiful tree, she adds color to the quad and is quite large, but when students, walk by her and every other tree on campus, that’s what they think, if they even think about the trees.

Trees serve numerus almost countless benefits to the environment. And just to name a few: leaves that gather at the base of a tree, or blow elsewhere in the fall time can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Keeping the ecosystem around that tree in balance, just by shedding its dead leaves. Those leaves also work as self-composters. Decaying and rotting leaves that gather on the ground just like at Sandy’s base, break down and provide nurturance. Those leaves promote soil microorganism, giving food to other organisms, and provide nutrients for tree growth. Trees also help filter out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. We create pollutants, from cars, industry and just everyday life, that trees, self-correct for use. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals. Most people know trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is extremely important, but trees absorb many other harmful pollutants and gasses as well, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, after it takes the gasses, or the damage we put in to air, it releases it back out as oxygen.  And if that wasn’t enough, here are just a few more facts about the benefits of trees:

  • “One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.”
  • “A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year —-for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide.”
  • “Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.”

Yet every day we, students, people, dependents on nature, walk by trees like sandy, and feel inclined to only comment on her beauty, her changing leaves, the nice shade she provides, none of the life essential jobs she dose. We as human can easily get sucked in to the HEP mentality, we forget how much the environment dose for us.

Evans, Erv. “TREES OF STRENGTH.” College of Agriculture and Life Science. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.
-Maggie Dougherty

63 Degrees in November

Leaves are beginning to fall off of sandy this week, but at a relatively slow rate. Other tree’s leaves litter the wide mulch circle at her base. But you can tell her leaves apart from the other tree’s leaves. The other tree’s leaves are dried and brown and crunchy. When you walk on them, they crackle beneath your feet. Sandy’s fallen leaves are still golden yellow and burnt orange. They are much thinner and less waxy then when they were green and on her branches, but they still hold much more life then do that other leaves that have gathered at the base. For early November it is alarmingly warm still. Yesterday it was almost 63 degrees during the afternoon, and although it is cold at night, it is hard to believe, at this moment, sitting under sandy in the afternoon sun shine, that the semester is drawing to a close and it will be winter soon. I remember in past years, in early November, we have already had snow, and it had been bitterly cold. Maybe this is the cause for Sandy’s late change of leaves. On her truck, in the deeper of the two cracks, a spider is building its web.  She is not there right now, but the web looks to be in progress. Sandy overall has lost about 20-40% of the leaves. At this point all leaves left on the tree have changed colors. Some have even turned slightly brown but are still on the tree. The leaves at have fallen are not dry and crispy, they look as if they still have life, but the wind blew them off.

Golden Leaves

On Friday when I walked by my tree, all of the leaves were still mostly green, as I talked about in my last post, when I saw my tree again on Monday, all of the leaves where changed. It seems as if, over a fourth eight hour period, all of the leaves on my tree, when from a grey green with tints of purple, to a vibrant orange and yellow gold. The tree was the color of fire. Upon closer examination, all of the leaves had lost their waxy coats. All of the leaves had become thinner, and almost less alive in feel. This lack of life in feeling was made up for in the color of the tree, the leaves were so bright, and one couldn’t help but feel as if the tree was bursting with life and energy. All of the other trees on the academic quad’s leaves, had change to yellow or red already, many were turning brown and at this point had already fallen. This made my tree stand out even more. Her leaves were so bright, the colors were especially juxtaposed against the grey rainy sky. Next I went under the canopy of my tree and looked up, the leaves, seemed to sag a bit, they had lost the stiff or frim appearance. All around the quad you could now see winter coming. Before you could see fall, but as squirrels ran around franticly, and other trees become more and more dead looing, I knew winter was approaching. After further investigation, from the internet, European beech trees are originally from central and norther Europe. The climate in similar here three. The trees are developed to change in four season, just like we have here. The tree seems to survive very well here, and change with appropriate sessions, even if, sandy was a little behind, her Dickinson tree counter parts on the quad.

Changing Colors

October 23

Its late fall and Sandy’s leaves are just starting to change. Some other trees on the academic quad have full lost their leaves. Although it’s almost Halloween the weather has been pretty mild. Last weekend the weather was relatively cold, it back to being in the 60. This might explain the lack of color change in her leaves. It’s odd to see a tree with so little color change at this point in the year. There is another European breach tree on the quad, and its leaves are almost fully changed and starting to fall.  All around me I can see the environment preparing it’s self for winter. Squirrels are extremely active, the grass is turning less and less green. Other tress are string their process of hibernation. I’d love to say sandy is following the pattern of wild life around her, but she isn’t. The few leaves that are changing, are changing texture as well.  What use to be waxy and thick leaves are now almost paper thin and have lost their waxy cover. They are what I, with no scientific evidence, would concerned dead. They are very bright yellow and orange. They are a sharp contrast to the rest of the tree, which is mostly grey at this point. I wonder when the rest of the leaves will change?

-Maggie Dougherty

Fall Pause Field Notes

Field notes 1

Sunday of fall pause, around 9 am, on the academic quad is a ghost town. I know in my last posts I’ve talked about quiets times on campus, but Sunday of fall pause is like a movie set where all of the actors have gone home. The other trees on the quad, have begun to change colors, but not sandy, she’s still holding on to summer. This was surprising, yesterday the low was 28 at night time and today the low will be 35 degrees. It’s getting very chill, and quickly. I assume within the next few days her leaves will start to change. The root circles that was once soft brown dirt, is hard to see now, it is covered in other trees leaves. It is also no longer soft, it’s frosted over and very hard. This time as I looked at my tree I noticed two large cuts in the base of her trunk. On was about four inches from the dirt line on the bottom of the tree. The depression was about four inches wide and 8 inches long. About two by four inchs in the center were particularly deep, whereas the rest of the depression was more so a removal of the top layer of bark. It did not look new, the edges of even the central deeper depression were smoother over by weathering. It was not splintered or peeling. It looked old. The second depression I saw was about a foot up the tree. It was long and narrow, scaling the tree vertically. It was about 4 inches at its widest point, and about a foot and half long, vertically. It was not very deep. It looked like it was just missing its top (or top few) layers of bark. It also did not look new. The bark that grew inside the depression was just a rough as the bark on the rest of the tree. We can call these Sandy’s battle scars from her days on the beach.

-Maggie Dougherty


Spider Friend

tree 6tree 7Now that I’ve looked at my tree in the morning and in the afternoon, I figureed I could spend some time with sandy at night. So in the dark I left my warm room and crossed the street to sit with Sandy. I again pulled over a red chair because sitting in the wet dirty did nothing for me. This time it was quitter on campus. Less cars, less noise, and no people.

Under the tree my red chair sat very close to the truck. A spider had made a bridge between the chair and the tree. I watched it crawl back and forth. I used the flash light on my phone to watch him maneuver. I looked up, and then felt extremely self-conscious, as group of students walked by and saw me sitting alone under a tree at 9:30 on a Wednesday night using my phone to look at a spider. But they soon passed and all was quite again.

The tree’s cover made it really dark. I mean siting under this tree made it hard to see anything. The dark leaves where thick overhead and hung low around me. I felt like I was in a cave. The bright lights on the path ways were dulled, and so were the lights form all the buildings. This tree is some serous shelter for small

I heard car again. Every time I’ve come to my tree to observe and reflect I’ve heard cars. When I try and quite my mind and really think about the task at hand, sandy, all I can hear is cars whizzing by, on high street of in this distance. It makes me kind of sad. The noise population is truly an indicator of the CO2 omissions that are also consistently whizzing in to the air.

I sit her and wonder what all that must be doing to my tree?

I know trees take in CO2 but all of the pollution can’t be good for her growth and life? And now that I think about it, it’s probably not good for me either.

-Maggie Dougherty

look listen FEEL


Dickinson college students walk across campus every day and hardly think about their surroundings, I included in that. May be they notice the weather, but only if it particularly warm or pouring rain. Maybe they notice the trees a few days in the fall because of their bright colors. Or maybe it’s the first day the grass looks green in the spring. But for the most part we walk through the world relative unaware of our natural surroundings, minds on classes, eyes on phones, ears trained on our classmates as we talk on the way to class. Rarely do we step back and take in what’s around us.

As I walk across the academic quad, from ballet class towards my house, I see students heading to dinner, a women walks her dog, and it is mostly quite. College campuses on Thursdays at 6 pm tend to be very quiet. Students are at dinner, in meetings, playing sports or already in the library studying, especially as fall grows colder and colder as the sun goes down, you see less and less human life out and about. I pulled a red chair under my tree and looked up. I noticed that the leaves on my tree, still purple and green, did not match the trees around it. The others had started to change. Bright yellows and reds, still mixed with shades of green. My tree showed no signs of fall. Sandy held on to summer a lot better than I did. Here I was at school, reflecting on all my work, how the air was growing cold, and how very soon shorts really would be pushing it. Whereas my tree, Sandy, looked the same as she did, the first day of school. She held on to summer and clung to her sessional colors, while I drifted in to the school year, and clung on the all the stress that came with it.

Then I looked down. I saw brown leaves littering he ground. I did not hear them move when the wind blew. They were dead but not dry. Soaked form the perpetual rain of Carlisle PA, they stuck to the wide ring of mulch under my tree. But when the wind blew I did hear the sound of the wind bending branches and moving the leaves above. Drops of water fell form the tree and covered the notebook I had out in little drops of water. The wind was like a blow dryer and the leaves like a girl’s long hair, my notebook was like the bathroom floor on a Monday morning, covered in drops of water after a shower, as she rushes to get ready. My tree was not in a rush. It was never in a rush

As I listened again I heard noise pollution only. I did not hear birds, the sounds of little squirrels, I heard a train horn from the direction of the Kline, cars on high street hitting the gas as the light turned green, I heard a car door slam from the parking lot by Denny hall. I heard nothing that had to do with my tree. I only heard the busy lives of the people that surrounded my tree.

As I took a deep breath in I smelled nothing out of the ordinary. Just the smell of wet grass. This made me nervous. After reflecting on the cars and traffic and lack of nature, shouldn’t I smell all of the gas these cars are omitting as they wiz by during rush hour? Has my nose gone blind to the smell of population? I don’t think my tree has gone blind to it’s effects.

In some of my last blog posts, I personified my tree and gave her a lot of human like qualities. My tree had a life, and friends, a home, she liked to run and play, she got sick, but was saved. I want to take that back. My tree is nothing like a person. It doesn’t rush to class oblivious of what’s around it, it doesn’t rush to do anything. It lives in the moment and reacts in direct responses to the things around it. It doesn’t wiz by in cars that give off toxins, it doesn’t move at all. It doesn’t stare at its phone or complain about the rain. It listens and looks and lives in the world directly around it. It is forced to live and be impacted by the lives of everyone around it, whereas people have the power to make that impact, trees just live with it.

Dickinson College Class of 2017

Maggie Dougherty


8:30 on a Monday isn’t good for anyone

tree 8Where is think best:

With music (when it’s not dead quite)

On sitting on the floor

When I am alert

After a cup of coffee


After breakfast I left the caf and walked across the academic quad. After making the list of “where I think best” I decided that the only time that would make sense for me to look at my tree was in the morning. I had just had my coffee, therefore I was relatively alert, and 8:30am was a good time because the quad is not quite. Filled with zombie like students, rushing to their 8:30 class, I say rushing because, everyone is late for 8:30s. I sat down on the mulch under my tree, and immediately regretted written that “I think best when I am sitting on the floor”. By floor I meant my living room floor, my bed room floor, on floors that don’t have ants, or mud, or things that stick to my pants.


Under the tree the ground was wet, form the dew, the dirty was soft and a bit cold. The wood chips, put there, by the gardeners, were soft. The bent easily between my fingers. Ants crawled all over the base of the tree. This confused me because I thought it might be too cold for ants in the first week of august.


When I look up I see that the branches don’t start for many feet. They start at about ten feet of the ground and arch down. If I was standing I could touch the leaves. The braches reach out very far. The diameter of the tree, branch tip to truck is about 20 feet.


The trunk is smooth. The bark is like skin. It grows up the tree in one piece, no brakes or bumps. Its more of a gray color then a brown color.