Encounter with Angel Oak leads to conservation path

Having lived in several states and held numerous jobs and with a college degree at least several years away, Samantha Siegel was confused about her future in the mid-1990s.

But one meeting with Johns Island’s ancient Angel Oak changed everything.

“I came to the Angel Oak and I was reborn,” said Siegel, now 28, who after seeing the tree in 2007 launched a volunteer, grass-roots effort to defend the iconic, spreading oak from encroachment by development. Siegel and friends formedwww.savetheangeloak.org, which sponsored a petition drive that has gathered some 10,000 signatures on behalf of maintaining the oak’s buffer area.

Siegel’s preservation efforts recently landed the self-proclaimed “tree hugger” a paying job as conservation development coordinator for the S.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club. Siegel will be shuttling back and forth between a Charleston home and a new address in Columbia and is excited about taking on statewide environmental and conservation issues.

She vows to remain vigilant about issues most dear to her in the Lowcountry, especially the Angel Oak.

“Charleston is a real leader in the environmental movement,” Siegel said.

Read the complete article here: http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/nov/04/encounter-with-angel-oak-leads-to-conservation/

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