Hidden Oaks Nature Center

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Nature Center open weekends 12 -5 p.m. Closed weekdays except for scheduled programs

7701 Royce Street
Annandale, Virginia

Michael McDonnell,

Tree Sculpture

Tree sculpture


Tree Sculpture

Chain saw artist Andrew Mallon created an art sculpture from the stump of a tulip poplar that was struck by lightning. He also carved seats and a bench out of portions of the tree's trunk. The area is used for interpretative nature programs. The sculpture can be seen from both inside and outside the nature center. Its formal unveiling took place during the center's 50th anniversary celebration in 2019.


VIDEO: The Creation of the Tree Carving

Lightning Struck Twice: Click to Read The Story Behind the Carving Tree

Two electric bolts during a storm turned a 100-foot tulip poplar just outside the picture window at Hidden Oaks Nature center into an imminent danger to the building. The tree had been the focal point of the woodland view from the center. It was a feeding station for flying squirrels and many species of birds. Its loss was keenly felt by staff, park visitors and the nature center’s wildlife neighbors. 
But the lightning assault did not damage the tree’s base. That was the knock of opportunity. Staff arranged for a ten-foot stump to remain for chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon, who created a sculpture of critters that enjoyed the tree’s gifts over its 128-year life. The urban art has become the centerpiece of a learning station on natural woodland shelters, and the carving means the tree can be enjoyed for another 20 years. Because it is near the nature center, the artwork is easily accessible for all visitors.

Information about a fundraising campaign for scholarship programs for Title I students to learn about animal habitats is at www.fohonc.com, the website of The Friends of Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

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