Artist says he can help preserve Toomer's Corner Oaks

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Marlin Miller has made his tree carving skills known throughout the Gulf Coast by helping to turn dead or dying trees into sculptures.  He says he is willing to do the same thing for the Toomer's Corner Oaks.

During a time of year when the Toomer's Corner Oaks should be green and full, instead you see trees with brown leaves and in distress.  Auburn University has taken numerous steps to save the beloved trees from removing the poisoned soil to soaking the trees with water every day.  So what is next for the beloved oaks? 

While Auburn University is still exploring its options, some can't help to think a chainsaw might have to be taken to the trees.  Florida Artist Marlin Miller says he wants to do just that but in a different way.

"The students and the alumni that are looking at this situation and have decades and decades of memories around these trees, and the idea that they would be cut off at the ground and removed seems a little bit overwhelming," said Miller.

Miller has made his way through the Gulf Coast preserving other historic trees in a unique way by carving them into masterpieces.  He does not take any money for his work calling the sculptures his gifts to communities afraid of losing dear friends: their trees.  His most recent project was carving a tree in Ft. Myers into an eagle.  An idea he thinks might work very nicely at Toomer's Corner.

"To go in there and create perhaps two large War Eagles and have them flow with the direction of the trees are currently growing, I think it would be a very, very positive story."

The trees would not be his only gift.  He says the shavings from his carving would go to make oak pens, wooden bowls, and anything that could be auctioned off with the money donated to area charities.

The leaders with the City of Auburn and Auburn University both say they are still far away from any decision on the future of the oaks and deny talking to the Florida artist.

Miller says he just wants to the university to consider his work as an option.

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