By Kathy L. Collins

The Museum of Science and Industry’s (MOSI) Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove recently underwent a series of improvements thanks to a grant it received from the Hillsborough County Historic Preservation Challenge Grant Program. In addition, MOSI received in kind donations from the community and the MOSI staff. These, along with the grant from Hillsborough County, allowed for improvements in the grove.

The improvements included a number of items such as benches for each tree. Murals painted by Florida artists help to interpret the story of each tree. Plant markers provide information on plantings throughout the grove. Items such as raised beds have helped to re-shape and spruce up the area. Ethnobotanical and themed gardens have signs that further explain the history of each tree.

The improvements were unveiled at a reception held on Tuesday, April 22. Attendees included members of the Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County.

MOSI’s Historic Tree Grove features 17 trees, 16 of which descended from trees that witnessed amazing historic events or were associated with famous historical people, and one tree that honors Dr. Richard T. Bowers who helped create the grove.

The grove includes a sycamore tree that grew from seeds that went to the moon, a pine that watched a battle of the American Civil War, a live oak that descended from an oak that grows at the school where Ray Charles received his education and the sweet gum that saw the flight of the first airplane.

The trees at MOSI’s Richard T. Bowers Historic Tree Grove  include Ft. Matanzas Red Cedar,  Clara Barton Red Bud, Mount Vernon Holly, Andersonville Magnolia, Oulstee Longleaf Pine, Chickasaw Plum, Dr. John Gorrie Red Cedar, George Washington Carver Persimmon, Henry Ford Sycamore, Juliette Gordon Low Magnolia, Wright Brothers Sweet Gum, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Live Oak, Martin Luther King, Jr. Sycamore, Moon Sycamore, Frank Lloyd Wright Ginko, Ray Charles Live Oak and Dick Bowers Sand Live Oak.

MOSI is located at 4801 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa. For more information on MOSI’s Historic Tree Grove, visit www.mosi.org.