High Five: Tree Sentiments Do Change

From Bob Giles:

For Earth Day 1970, I was faculty advisor of students on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. The place was later to be branded “Virginia Tech.” The students were a fierce group, involved in the ambiguities of, and protests against, the Viet Nam War, love of country, and threats of over-population, radiation, and toxins.

There were speeches and handouts. “Fewer children,” was one plea of a professor to a large group.

“How many do you have?” came from the brave student in the audience.

“Two, and a vasectomy!” came the startling, then rarely heard, answer.

Tree planting site was at the right edge of the War Memorial Chapel, Virginia Tech That same night two students had decided to plant a tree on the then-barren “parade ground,” now known as the drill field – the center of campus for the Corps of Cadets.

The students borrowed my shovel and planted a tree in the dark of the night. It was respectfully placed by the War Memorial Chapel.  

I cannot remember whether they were caught by campus police but, by late the next morning, the tree was gone.

Recently, student volunteers planted 100 trees on the same campus and the drill field now has many trees.

Attitudes, passions, techniques, and risk-taking do change…in ways that can be imagined when viewing the past.


Robert H. Giles, Jr. writes High Five for Handshake 2.0, a technology business news and business blog venture of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks.  The opinions Robert Giles expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its sponsors or advertisers.


Robert H. Giles, Jr. is a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus with a vision for a rural land management system.  He writes two blogs, The Survivalists and Faunal Force. 

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