8-year-old makes effort to save trees set to be cut down on Sullivan’s Island

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)- When you think of elementary-aged kids having a play date, it doesn’t normally include working to protect the environment.

For a third grader on Sullivan’s Island, Keegan Novak, it does.

“We have a symbiotic relationship with trees. What they breathe out we breathe in, what they breathe in we breathe out,” Keegan said.

Novak loves all things nature, especially palmetto trees.

“And they’re the state tree of South Carolina, they’re in our history,” Keegan said.

So when Keegan heard that Dominion Energy is planning to cut down over 500 trees on Sullivan’s Island to make room for power lines, it was time for him to get to work.

“He stopped a playdate with his friend, they came up with this. This sign, this is the original drawing, and he said dad we need to bring awareness about this,” Keegan’s dad Justin said.

Justin Novak made copies of the sign and now they’re hanging on dozens of the trees on Sullivan’s Island slated to be removed.

The sign has a simple message, “Don’t cut ’em down”.

“I just hope they notice them and really think about how many trees are going to go down if we don’t stop dominion,” Keegan said.

Justin says Keegan has always been passionate about what’s going on in the world, and it’s had an impact on his classmates.

“He’s been an example for other kids and was celebrated for his engagement on this project. We couldn’t be prouder of him,” Justin said.

The Novak family is hoping this simple gesture protects the fate of these trees, but also, that it encourages their Sullivan’s Island community to support Keegan’s cause.

“So hopefully this engages other people in the community to be aware of what’s going on and see if there are things they can do to help preserve some of these trees,” Justin said.

Dominion Energy sent us a statement on this issue saying the palmetto trees they’ve decided to cut down are fire hazards.

They said “Palmetto trees cannot be reduced in height or directionally pruned like other trees, and side trimming is not recommended as these trees quickly replace pruned fronds and seed stalks. For these trees, removal is the safest option.”

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Author: Sophia Radebaugh