Organization working to raise remaining $400k to preserve Angel Oak

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The deadline for a group's fundraiser to preserve land around the Angel Oak Tree is coming down to the wire.

Four months in and only 18 days to go, the Lowcountry Open Land Trust has to come up with $400,000.

Sunday the community of Johns Island honored the legacy of the tree at a fellowship dinner.

More than 200 Angel Oak supporters listened to and shared stories under the reaching canopy of one of the nation's oldest live oak trees.

Queen Quet, Head of State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation was among many who sang and shared stories.

Richard Legare's grandmother lived across the street from the Angel Oak.

Legare said, "This was back in the late 60's and the early 70's for me. We used to always sneak away from our grandmother to get over here to the tree and play."

The Lowcountry Open Land Trust, a non-profit organization has three weeks to raise enough money to buy 17 acres of land surrounding the tree.

Executive Director, Elizabeth Hagood said, "The full price tag is 3.6 million dollars, so we have raised all but 400,000 in four months."

Hagood says the goal is for the area to be used as a community park.

"This property is in being foreheld by a North Carolina bank in foreclosure. We have an option to buy it from that bank. If we don't buy it, it'll go out on the market and zoned for intensive development," said Hagood.

Hagood says the Angel Oak has a history of uniting community members.

During the dinner, crowd listened closely to a recording of Septima Clark, a former educator in Charleston and prominent civil rights figure.

On the recording Clark said during her time in the early 1900's, the area around the Angel Oak was a place where segregation did not exist.

Angel Oak supporters are hoping the tree will continue affecting lives for generations to come.

More than 8,000 of the 10,000 donations were given in a Piggly Wiggly store. Lowcountry Open Land Trust has until November 21st to raise the remaining $400,000.

You can go to Angel Oak to donate.

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