In a city of steel and concrete, a tree offers a burst of green, a cooling canopy and an appropriate way to celebrate human life.
That’s the philosophy of Katherine Gomon, who at age 90, continues on her mission to inspire the community to plant 100 crape myrtles, red maples and Yoshino cherry blossoms from Fort Gordon to Euchee Creek in Columbia County.
Gomon’s project, which has been dubbed "Katherine’s 100 Trees," completed phase one of the two-phase project Sunday.
Two-dozen Yoshino cherry blossom trees planted along the Central Avenue median in Summerville were dedicated by Mayor Deke Copenhaver and the Augusta Woman’s Club, the event’s main sponsor.
For the second phase, 75 trees were to be planted, but instead, an additional 300 crape myrtles and red maples will be planted near Gate 5 of Fort Gordon, the Savannah River Port Authority and along the Columbia County Greenway at Grovetown Trails.
“One tree at a time,” said Gomon, as she accepted a proclamation from the mayor marking April 21, 2013, in honor of Katherine’s 100 Trees. “It may only seem like a small act of kindness, but it could add up to something big.”
Gomon’s act is adding up fast.
Augusta Commission members Grady Smith and Mary Davis extolled the role of trees Sunday in making Augusta a more “beautiful and healthy” place to live.
Experts say trees help fight asthma, reduce stormwater runoff, absorb carbon dioxide and lower ambient temperatures. But more importantly, they resemble the circle of life, officials said.
Each cherry blossom – planted from Monte Sano Avenue to a World War I memorial installed in the 1920s by the Augusta Woman’s Club at Troupe Street – was sponsored by people, clubs and families in honor of loved ones.
The next 300 trees will come from 700 seedlings that were purchased and bagged in groups of 10 by the Georgia State Forestry Service. They can be sponsored by contacting the Augusta Woman’s Club at (706) 868-8027, group chairwoman Rita Hamilton said.
While Hamilton said the significance of the trees on Central Avenue is the hope of the “earth’s natural resources” and the “togetherness of all mankind,” Gomon said it is much simpler.
“I know people will enjoy helping plant more trees across the (area),” she said. “It’s therapeutic.”