Editorial: Tree sculpture idea grows in Orange

Tree-lined streets are an important asset to our New England communities — in fact, they are as iconic as our towering steeples and covered bridges.

But trees, no matter how majestic, do eventually fall victim to old age, disease or damage from storms or people. Complete removal can be costly and what’s left standing is often just the trunk.

Some creative people in Orange, however, are finding a way to give those stark remnants new life — as art.

It all began when Krista and Jesse Beauchesne bought two lots on South Main Street. The property included a dead tree ... and that set the couple to thinking about what they could do with it other than turning it into firewood. Eventually, they landed on the idea of turning the tree into a piece of sculpture — a sort of a modern totem pole — so they contacted a group of local artists known as the North Quabbin Carvers.

They combined to transform the trunk into a marvelous piece of art that portrays an assortment of animals that inhabit the woods and fields of the area.

By itself, it would be a unique sculpture, one that would surprise those who happened upon it while visiting Orange. But the Beauchesnes and others in town, including Orange Tree Warden Susan Pepper-Aisenberg, were inspired by the result to think that there was an opportunity here to do more. What if other such trees could be turned into sculptures and a tree-sculpture “trail” could be created that could be a draw for Orange?

Thus the North Quabbin Tree Project was born.

“A core group of people in the North Quabbin area are working very hard to bring in visitors and we thought the tree sculpture project would be a good complement to their effort,” Krista Beauchesne told a Recorder reporter.

Now a second tree, across from Butterfield School and within walking distance of the first, is getting the carvers’ treatment.

We think it is a great idea to turn these tree trunks into something that can be a real attraction for Orange — especially when coupled with other similar innovative ideas.

We would like to see this artistic endeavor take root and grow.

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