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W. B. Alwood

William Bradford Alwood was an early pioneer of pest management and fruit culture. He was referred to by his peers during his era as father of Virginia horticulture, the savior of the Virginia fruit industry, and a worldwide expert in pomology, viticulture, enology, and pest management. At Virginia Tech he is regarded as the father of our horticulture and pest management disciplines and as one of the University's greatest scientists.

Response to the Dedication of the Alwood Oak

The Hokie Nation has been highly responsive to acknowledging the accomplishments of William Alwood and the naming of the Alwood Oak. They have responded with letters, new articles, verbal responses, and a poem. The grounds department has supported the improvements recommended by Dr. Eric Wiseman's 2011 preservation plan. A restrictive chain fence is in the works to reduce foot traffic on the tree site. The Alwood Plaza is being completed across the street from the tree - a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the oak. Mischief, vandalism, and disrespect for the health of the tree, a problem in prior years, stopped during the 2012 school year. We believe this occurred because of the plaques bringing the importance of the tree to the public's attention. The tree looked spectacular in the spring of 2012 - a direct result of trimming and additional mulching implemented as part of the preservation plan.

In May 2012, Virginia Tech received permission to publish a poem written by a Hokie rising junior, Michael Stapor. The poem is published here with permission from Michael's proud parents. We are very happy to share it with you as follows:


For the Alwood Oak

Have you ever just stood,

Beneath an old oak tree?

And admired the way,

The sun shines through the leaves,

I’ve done it a few times,

Once earlier today,

And it’s interesting,

The things it makes me say,

Oh great ironwood,

With trunk so thick with age,

I gaze upon your splendor,

And feel insignificant to the grave,

What wisdom you must have,

Locked away in those roots,

That gnarl up from the ground,

Unimaginably going deeper than I could,

Yet as ancient as you must be,

You still grow new leaves,

Each a lively shade of green,

That expresses life to be,

I examine the intricacy,

The way your branches curve and twist,

There is not one part of you,

I would want to miss,

Help me be at one with thee,

Mighty oak,

Lend me your heart,

Your strength you’ve shown,

And help me anchor and center,

So that I may carry your lessons,

To share with others who walk by,

On this beautiful spring day.


Written by:
Michael Stapor, College of Natural Resources, Class of 2015

This poem is the property of its writer and is protected under the copyright of this website.
Please contact the author for permission to use his work. Our use was granted, 5/30/12 by his father.

Copyright, 2011, M. J. Weaver. All rights reserved and protected under the Berne Convention Implementation Act, amending the 1976 Copyright Act to conform to most of the provisions of the Berne Convention.
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