On May 1st, Newton Friends Meeting celebrated our Salem Oak planting!
Saplings from the 600+ year old Salem Oak tree (Quercus alba) were distributed to Friends meetings across South Jersey during the last week of March. Acorns were collected by Salem Meeting before the tree fell (2019) and raised by the NJ Forest Service. Jim Waddington, a member of Salem Meeting’s tree committee, delivered the saplings to contacts with Burlington, Haddonfield and Salem Quarters at the end of March. Since that time, many of the meetings have held ceremonies as they planted the 1 foot + bare-root saplings. Certificates of authenticity were provided by Salem Meeting, along with planting instructions. Following are photos and brief reports from several meetings. Other meetings planned to plant their trees on Earth Day.
The Salem Oak tree is believed to have been part of the original forest that covered Salem County, before Salem was established in 1675 by an English Quaker named John Fenwick. Legend states that Fenwick signed a treaty with the local Lenni Lenape under the shade of the Oak’s wide-reaching branches. This was one of the few treaties with Native Americans that was never broken. The Quakers of Salem have continued to have a strong relationship with the Lenni Lenape in the area.