March 2020 Park Angel of the Month: Mayo Read
In mid-February, the Charleston community lost one of its most beloved civic leaders, Mayo Read. Mayo believed strongly in the importance of the urban forest to the fabric and livability of our city. He and his close friend Charles “Pug” Ravenel founded Charleston Trees in the early 1990s to support our urban forest and provide for its expansion. Since that time, Read, Ravenel and others have worked diligently to plant trees in Charleston’s public spaces, and are best known for the transformative allée of 350 live oaks along East Bay Street and Morrison Drive. Over the course of 40 years, his efforts resulted in the planting of over 1,000 trees in Charleston.
– Trees bring beauty, which softens an urban environment.
– Trees enhance our physical and emotional health.
– Trees cool the air while vastly improving air quality.
– Trees reduce stormwater runoff thereby reducing soil erosion and sedimentation and pollution in waterways.
– Trees absorb CO2 and other dangerous gases and, in turn, replenish the air with oxygen
– Trees create habitat for wildlife.
– Trees beautify urban areas and give human scale to built environments
– Trees provide privacy and a sense of security.
– Trees contribute to community pride and feelings of neighborhood ownership
In 2015, Charleston Trees became a sub-committee of the Charleston Parks Conservancy’s Programs Committee.
“Mayo loved to connect people and trees. We would drive or walk to Charleston neighborhoods looking for sites in need of trees. When we found one, Mayo would knock on the door of an adjacent home and explain to the resident how a properly placed tree could improve their property, the neighborhood, and the entire city. Often, Mayo was successful, and a check was written on the spot. If a resident could not afford to plant, Mayo explained the purpose of Charleston Trees and offered that they would cover the cost. His approach was personal and he spoke for the trees to the people of Charleston.” — Danny Burbage, Superintendent of Urban Forestry for the City of Charleston.
We remember Mayo Read’s legacy and passion for the “greening” of Charleston through trees.
To read more on the legacy of Mayo Read click here