About 15 people gathered on the edge of Virginia Tech's controversial Stadium Woods to commemorate the cutting of one of the forest fragment's several dozen large oaks, some of which are estimated to be more than 300 years old.
"We are here to mourn the loss of tree No. 131," Environmental Coalition President Erica Largen told the assembly that gathered at 9 p.m. near the roped-off site where earlier in the day a crew had cut down the old oak. Students and community members lit candles around the site and stood in a circle for the ceremony.
Despite the estimates of the tree's age, "the Virginia Tech administration decided to go forth with chain saws," Largen said.
But Largen encouraged the group to see the lost oak as a "reason to fight back, to never give up and to protect the rest of these trees."