Community gathers to support Angel Oak Tree - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Community gathers to support Angel Oak Tree

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JOHNS ISLAND, SC -

It's a Lowcountry landmark that has survived hurricanes, wars and thousands of visitors every year. But now, the Angel oak tree is facing it's biggest challenge yet: nearby development.

The Lowcountry Open Land Trust is in the process of raising $3.8 million to purchase nearby lands. While several municipalities have donated money, the organization still needs to raise around $400,000 before the end of November.

For Robert "Shortie" Lagare, the Angel Oak tree was a place where he and his friends could safely play during the steamy summers of the 1960s and 1970s. For a community just freshly desegregated, Lagare's family was always worried about their safety.

"My grandmother used to be so close to hard about not letting us go out on our own," Lagare said.

His grandmother lived just steps away from the tree. During the ceremony, Lagare talked about his experiences with the tree. Local pastors and members from the Gullah-Geechee nation also gathered to voice their support for the tree.

Elizabeth Hagood has made it her personal mission to raise millions for the tree. She said her organization has received thousands of different donations.

"People love the tree and want to keep the tree healthy and surrounded by the natural setting that it has always had," Hagood said.

Many of the thousands of dollars they raised came with more than just a check or money.

"The donations don't just come with a check or money; they have a story about the Angel Oak and why it means so much to the donor," Hagood said.

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