‘Don’t cut’um down’: Sullivan’s Island recognizes boy’s efforts to save 500 palmetto trees from destruction

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – An 8-year-old Sullivan’s Island student is being recognized for his efforts to protect more than 500 palmetto trees from destruction.

When Keegan Novak heard about Dominion Energy’s plan to cut down roughly 523 palmettos to make room for power lines, he got to work creating a plan that would raise awareness and protect the trees – and it all started with a hand-drawn picture that simply read, “Don’t cut’um down.”

The picture was copied and placed on dozens of palmetto trees that were slated to be removed.

“We have a symbiotic relationship with trees. What they breathe out, we breathe in; what they breathe in, we breathe out,” Novak said during an interview with News 2 in early May.

Now, the Town of Sullivan’s Island is expressing its appreciation to Novak by presenting him with a special resolution on Tuesday.

“Mr. Novak understood the threats posed to the town’s environment and historical character by this large-scale palmetto removal,” the resolution said, adding: “Mr. Novak conceived and implemented a highly effective, grassroots campaign to alert the public to the consequences of this planned palmetto eradication.”

The more than 500 palmetto trees were marked for destruction by Dominion Energy as part of their vegetation management plan for trees they say pose a risk to power lines.

Dominion Energy said palmetto trees cannot be reduced in height or directionally pruned like other trees. “…side trimming is not recommended as these trees quickly replace pruned fronds and seed stalks. For these trees, removal is the safest option,” is said in a May 8 statement.

The plan to remove the trees is moving forward.

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Author: Tim Renaud