Preschoolers Get “Sappy” for Oldest Tree on UW campus

bur oak and preschool

The President’s Bur Oak is the oldest tree on campus; in fact there are battle wounds on its trunk dating back to the Civil War when soldiers used it for target practice. An unexpected group has come to love the tree and would like to honor the Bur Oak, which has reached the end of its life, when it is removed in January.




The “Bunny” class at the Preschool Lab has visited the tree each month for the past two years. They have been journaling about it, observing the wild life around it, holding picnics under it, and even building snow people in the winter. It is no surprise that the tree has become a friend to this group of four year olds.

Their connection with the tree has led to a front-page article in the Wisconsin State Journal, along with meetings with UW officials, a campus historian, Ho Chunk officials, Native American campus contact Aaron Bird Bear, and even the groundskeeper in charge of cutting the tree down. This is a very determined group of children who want to follow the tree and honor it. Teacher Kristen Krystofiak says “They are a precocious group and wanted to know when the tree is coming down and want to be present.”


This blog series will follow the journey of the “Bunny” class and the Bur Oak including videos, pictures, and stories of their dedication to honor the tree in its death.


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