“The Gift That Truly Keeps On Giving” by Greg Levine



The Gift That Truly Keeps On Giving
By Greg Levine, Co- Executive Director & Chief Program Officer, Trees Atlanta

I planted three oak trees in an empty lot on Edgewood Avenue, when I was 26 and new to Trees Atlanta, about 20 years ago. President Bill Clinton was in town and I was asked by our past director, Marcia Bansley, to find a location to plant the trees. There was a chance that the President would plant with us on Martin Luther King Day. The idea of planting a tree with the President stood in my mind as this awesome “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. I selected trees, diligently searched for locations, and obtained approval from the National Park Service. It was one my earliest and few disappointments at Trees Atlanta because it didn’t happen (John Denver also skipped out on planting a tree a year later, for an even bigger disappointment). Well, I made the most of my work and planted the trees on my own while President Clinton was in town on MLK Day. One of the three oak trees still survives today. It is about 40 feet tall. I watered it off and on for that first summer, investing a few hours of time. This one tree has given me, and the community, so much back in return.