Three trees were ripped out of the ground on Brent Street last Friday night, the fourth instance of tree vandalism in just over a month, according to Tree Fredericksburg, a local non-profit volunteer organization that plants trees in the city.
About two weeks ago on Sunken Road, three trees were uprooted and two lampposts were vandalized. A month ago, three trees on Sylvania Street were uprooted and about five weeks ago, a tree on Brent Street was uprooted according to Tree Fredericksburg.
President of Tree Fredericksburg Anne Little said that she has received information that a University of Mary Washington student perpetrated the vandalism in at least one of the instances, but they do not know which student it was.
The trees, which are valued at $150 each, were planted last fall.
Little wanted to emphasis that overall, UMW has been a great asset to the organization, with numerous clubs helping in plantings. She does not want one bad instance to tarnish their relationship if, in fact, a university student was involved.
Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker said he recently saw skateboarders uprooting a tree on Sunken but that they did not seem to be UMW students.
He agreed with Little, saying that he believes our students are generally “responsible members of the community,” and that the school expects them to maintain that stewardship.
Sophomore Abbie Rogers, a member of UMW’s Ecology Club and volunteer with Tree Fredericksburg, said that she was upset to hear of the acts of vandalism because she knows what intense effort goes into planting each tree.
She also mentioned the benefits of urban tree planting, which include increased air and water quality, increased real estate value, and a higher sociological well-being.
Tree Fredericksburg has notified the Fredericksburg police force and UMW Campus police of the events.
According to Little, Tree Fredericksburg has never seen a string of events like this occur before, although there was one instance when two large trees around Washington Avenue were broken in half last fall.
Tree Fredericksburg is offering a reward of $100 for information about the perpetrator who committed these crimes.