Share your Love of Trees at CommuniTREE

By Amy Martin
It was like riding a wave. That’s what the rising community energy was like when the tree brouhaha started at White Rock Lake.  But out of the tragic destruction of three ancient elms, something wonderful was born – an environmental festival: CommuniTREE by Earth Rhythms on Saturday, September 24 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Bath House Cultural Center.

For more than 100 years they stood, four great American elms behind the Bath House.  Planted as saplings on a dairy farm overlooking White Rock Creek, not too much later they witnessed the creation of the lake, providing shade for swimmers when the Bath House was actually a bath house. Their massive trunks could be seen as landmarks for many Earth Rhythms’ events: FlowFest, Moonlady Nights, Summer SolstiCelebrations, fall equinoxes and Full Moons.

Ancient Elms Cut Down Like Weeds

Rather than considering these giants as significant historical trees, two were destroyed last April the Dallas Park Department. The trees were ill, but pruning was possible and weakened trees can be brought back to health through fertilizer and soil supplements. Or the standing trees could have been turned into carved sculpture as was done in Galveston to ancient oaks salt-killed by a hurricane where they now serve as a major tourist attraction.  (Bath House Photo shows elm before it was cut: courtesy of )

The fans of Earth Rhythms were deeply upset, but noticed something remarkable: one of the elm stumps was in the shape of a butterfly. Group organizers commissioned Julia Schloss, the Salvage Artist, to paint a butterfly on the stump during the group’s spring FlowFest. It quickly became an icon of renewal.

After the fest, the city came to cut down a third ancient elm. Roger once again sounded the alarm and negotiated a temporary truce, allowing for a more dignified end. Earth Rhythms convened a Goodbye to a Tree event to give it the honor it deserved. A significant crowd attended to show their passion for trees.

Creativity from Destruction

A tree festival simply had to be, especially after learning that 2011 was designated by the United Nations as the International Year of the Forests. When the intent to create a festival was announced, Earth Rhythms was inundated with stories, photos and art of trees. Dallas’ top tree experts offered to speak. Performers and artists asked to share their tree-inspired works. Bee keepers, gardeners and urban wildlife groups wanted to come.

The result is CommuniTREE on Saturday September 24, 2011 at the Bath House – to commemorate, educate and participate in all things TREE! Learn about proper TREE care, emulate TREE energy and peruse local artisTREE.  Two 45 and 15-gallon trees were donated for raffle, along with hundreds of free saplings to give away.  Plans are for the Dallas City Council to declare that date as Celebrate Forests Day as part of the UN campaign.

CommuniTREE     free – donations accepted
Saturday September 24, 2011   10 am – 2 pm
Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake
For More information  ~ ~ 214-261-5599


Amy Martin is a producer, author,
journalist, widely known for her list serve  She is the president of Moonlady Media, producer
of events such as Winter SolstiCelebration, and founder of  Earth Rhythms. 
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