Irma spares Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville of significant damage

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MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A garden of trees in Milledgeville is still cleaning up after Tropical Storm Irma brought down more than 15 trees on its property a week ago.

Lockerly Arboretum is home to a diverse collection of plants and trees, which made the public garden susceptible to Irma’s path of destruction.

“All things considered, it wasn’t bad,” Lockerly’s Executive Director, Jennifer Pollard said. “It could have been much worse.”

Tropical Storm Irma didn’t totally spare Lockerly. The storm brought a tree down directly on one of the garden’s three greenhouses. The damage caused Lockerly to cancel its educational courses – which have since resumed.

“If one greenhouse is all I need to sacrifice on this property, I’ll take it,” Pollard said.

18 trees came down on the arboretum’s 50 acres, some feet from buildings, bridge, and trails – almost as if Mother Nature was doing its best to protect the place.

“If for some reason we had to [take these trees down], I don’t think we could have [taken them down] as perfectly as Mother Nature did,” Pollard said.

Clean-up efforts began shortly after Irma’s departure. Staff, volunteers, and students from the community all pitched in to chop up some of the fallen trees and move them off the property. Still, many downed trees remain, but according to Pollard, it could have been a lot worse.

“We’re a 50-acre arboretum with thousands of species of trees from around the world and the fact we only lost 18 trees is a blessing, I’ll take it,” Pollard said.

Lockerly Arboretum is located at 1534 Irwinton Rd. in Milledgeville. If you’re interested in visiting or donating, check out its website at http://lockerly.org/.