Casting a pink shadow over the budding grass, the cherry blossom tree stood in full bloom last Friday as students passed by all throughout the morning, stopping between classes to grab cookies and admire the tree.
The cookies were placed on a table beneath the tree by Thomas Cone, Instructor in Biology and member of the Campus Beautification Committee. Cone has made this cookie day an annual tradition for ten to 15 years.
“I love nature and I love wildlife on our campus. I try to encourage appreciation of wildlife, and the environment. The cherry tree is just an example that is something out here on our campus that is beautiful,” said Cone in an interview with The Phillipian.
Cone hopes to encourage more of the Andover community to admire and take in the natural beauty of campus, the cherry tree in particular.
“[To] remind people of the beauty of something we have on the campus, I created this cookie festival around Earth Day… We pick a day when [the tree is] almost in full bloom, or it is in full bloom, when we’re all here… There are new students every year, and it’s great to have them all look at the tree and realize it’s there, and see the beautiful addition it is to campus,” said Cone.
JP Tang ’18 stopped by the tree on Friday to take in the scene.
“The tree makes me feel happy that it is spring,” said Tang. “The winter was very long and cold so it is nice to see flowers blooming again. It also reminded me of home, because I am from Hong Kong, which is a tropical area. I also think the trees look very nice and adds well onto the environment of our campus.”
Cone decided to create the cherry tree cookie day as a way to show appreciation for Andover’s natural beauty when the tree was threatened to be cut down.
“I got involved with it because on two occasions, it was threatened to be cut down. One occasion was when it was very small, it was only about 12 feet high. This was about 45 years ago now. People driving by Day and Foxcroft couldn’t see the old science building, which was Evans Hall. A lot of people, students, faculty, and even some faculty wives came out and hugged the tree when they came to cut it down, so they didn’t. So the tree stayed,” said Cone.
Cone explained how later, after the Gelb Science Center was built in 2004, some Andover community members felt the cherry tree interfered with the campus sightline.
“They argued that the tree should be cut down so that the science building could be seen better. So, it turned out that the architects came, and they liked it very much just the way it was, and they even took pictures from Foxcroft and they thought it was just very beautiful having the science building framed by this cherry tree. It was very beautiful and natural and they wanted to keep it, so it’s still with us now,” said Cone.
For years now, the cherry tree cookie day has served as an indication and celebration of spring and warm weather to many.
Kasey Welch ’16 has enjoyed the event for four years.
“The beautiful blooming of the tree and the celebration of it with cookies,” said Welch, “is a great way to mark the beginning of spring and [Cone’s] excitement about it is infectious. Every year it represents the beginning of the best season at Andover.”