Thursday, January 21, 2010

You want to save that tree!

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — If you agree with poet Joyce Kilmer, “Only God can make a tree.”
But it seems to take a whole village to save one, and a lot of bureaucrats and elected officials to tell us when, why, whether and how to do it. (See today’s feature.)
It’s clear you want to save the south Downtown Mall Chinese Pistache, which many of us think may be the city’s most beautiful tree. After a Jan. 10 Las Cruces Style column broached the subject, you called, e-mailed and stopped me on the street to offer support for our arboreal amigo.
There were offers to petition, plan, protest and even picket to save not only that tree, but several others. One reader suggested we need a special “heritage tree ordinance” to protect our leafy legacy for future generations. As “green” concerns escalate and officials stress that the city has a commitment to ecological planning, many of you think this would be a good place to put those inspiring words into action.
For more of your comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.
Here’s a sampling of what you have to say:
Caroline M. Wozniak: I read your (Jan. 10 Las Cruces Style column) and want to congratulate you. This is the first mention I have read in anything in defense of the “destruction” of trees, walkways, etc. I wrote a letter a while back to someone on the planning committee about what the plans were for the trees in the south mall. I did not even get a telephone call, letter or e-mail in response.
Contrary to your belief, I think the north mall remodeling is terrible! The venders and their portable umbrella-like coverings are an eyesore compared to the symmetrical overhead structures and the natural beauty of trees and walkways which were beautiful. I think the city is making a big mistake and I cannot condone the cutting down of living trees. Do they realize how long it will take to make the area look other than bare and ugly once they destroy this section as they have the north section of the mall? I do not look forward to the weekly visits and have avoided the area in the past months. It is not inviting and looks “cheap” and manufactured and not the least bit welcoming.
I know the powers that be are in charge, I just wanted to agree with you 100% - SAVE THE TREES.  We are in an era of “thinking green” for the welfare of the country and the world and here in Las Cruces, we destoy LIVING TREES for a concrete sidewalk and road that is too narrow for two cars to drive through comfortably. What kind of thinking is this? Or can we chalk it up to a “lack of thinking”?
Thank you once again and pray that someone starts to realize that this is WRONG.
Carole Rickman: As the song goes, pave paradise and put up a parking lot. I vote for the tree to stay and the city work around it.
Julie Smelser: Can we start a petition against cutting all these trees down? Is there anything I can do to win the cause, like go downtown and walk around with picket signs?
Melody Burns: Thank you so much for your column about saving the trees on the Downtown Mall. Please add the one in front of the Mastery In Life Center (now the Center for Spiritual Living), to your list.
We have also been told that when they put in the traffic circle at the north end of the Downtown Mall, they are going to chop down the City Christmas Tree. I have talked with the engineers in charge of the project and they gave me all sorts of reasons why they have to do it (visibility, liability, etc.), but I think that there is much more to the story.
I have been meaning to talk to Kevin Bixby to see what the Southwest Environmental center might be able to do to help save these trees, but haven't done it yet. Have you had any conversation with them?
As you probably know, Bob (Burns) and I are already over-committed but if there is something we can do to help this cause, we want to do it. Please let us know.
Thanks again for all you do and for raising the consciousness in Las Cruces!
Ed Breeding: I couldn't agree with you more about the trees needing to live on the Downtown Mall.
It always amazes me how unfeelingly man can be about cutting down a tree, when all it has done is give life and beauty to us for so many years.
Thank you for the great story about saving the trees!
Margaret Lindsley: I think that I shall never see a painting lovely as a TREE. Especially a shade-producing, life-sustaining TREE in a Las Cruces summer.
Al McBrayer: Thank you for your thought-provoking article concerning the trees on the Downtown Mall. I, too, worried that these beautiful trees would fall under the ax as soon as they started to work on the road. I hope something can be done to curve the road around them, like you mentioned in the article. A curving road would be more pleasing to the eye and slow traffic as well. In the town I came from, there was a Heritage Tree ordinance. Trees of a certain diameter must be preserved or must pass a community vote before they can be removed. Unless a Heritage tree was diseased or damaged, it must be saved. Perhaps, the trees can even be relocated in order to save them. Here in Las Cruces, where trees are few, a large shade tree on the mall becomes even more precious. Please add my name to the list of citizens who wish to save these trees.
Pam Smith: Yes we do need to save this special tree, but also all the other trees, bushes and planters on the Downtown Mall. They provide oxygen, shade, beauty, bird habitat, and valuable balance to an otherwise barren and arid concrete jungle! Thanks.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

No comments: