A Storm Hits the Campus

--by Galen Moses

A brief, but powerful wind and rain storm whipped through the Valley on Monday, May 14, downing two stately old trees on the southwest side of the Sunnyside campus. Just look at some of the storm photos our residents took!

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A sugar maple tree in the front yard of Ruth Williams came crashing down across Hickory Cove Road around 6 p.m., blocking access to homes up the street. Williams said she didn’t see the tree fall, but the wind was blowing sheets of rain across the yard.

She said she had to walk down the street to catch a ride to a concert later that evening at Bethesda Theater, but by the time she came home, the grounds crew had already removed the tree. “They did a very good job of clearing the street,” she said.

The tree was one of many around campus with a name plaque on it, so Williams said she asked the crew later to leave a section of the trunk with the sign on it where the tree had stood in remembrance.

The wind also knocked down another huge tree up the hill near the intersection of Sunnyside Drive and Highlands Place. The red oak tree was one of the oldest on campus, according to Andy Sale, but he noted that the bottom of the tree had considerable rot. The tree severely damaged other trees next to it and debris fell across the paved trail in the area, but didn’t fall on the road.

Executive Director Josh Lyons said at the “Coffee” on Wednesday that the incident points out the need to maintain trees and landscaping on campus so that homes and other facilities are not damaged in storms.

"Just touching that old tree was truly moving to me because when you touch these trees, you have such a sense of the passage of time, of history. It's like you're touching the essence, the very substance of life." Kim Novak