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View of the Davie Poplar.

Carolina Tree Heritage ProgramWhen trees present a safety hazard or are lost to storms, Carolina Tree Heritage Program transforms the trunks and branches into furniture, sculptures, and other wooden creations, with the proceeds going toward supporting student opportunities, such as internships and scholarships.

Heritage trees are individual trees on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus that have developed exceptional historical, cultural, or aesthetic value because of their age, descent, legendary stature, contribution to the diversity of the campus landscape, exemplary representation of genus or species, rarity, or association with an important event or person.


The mission of Carolina Tree Heritage is to give new life to the oldest and biggest trees that have fallen down on the UNC campus and turn them into their next legacy.

The Process

A post oak on campus being felled.

Due to age-related decline, this 250-year-old post oak (Quercus stellata), located behind New West on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus (35°54’43.89″N, 79°03’09.23″W) was felled on October 24, 2018.

Whispering Pines Saw Mill.

It was then sent to Whispering Pines Saw Mill to be milled.

A cookie of post oak.

The drying process for these two cuts of the post oak, called cookies, begins outside before they are sent to a kiln to be dried.

A cookie becoming a table.

The cookie is being turned into a table. The legs and supports were also made from the same Post Oak.

A table made from the post oak.

Mike Everhart puts the finishing touches on the table which now resides in the South Building. The table was donated to UNC Chapel Hill on University Day, Oct. 12, 2021.

Meet the Team


Susan CohenSusan Cohen is the associate director at the UNC Institute for the Environment. Prior to coming to IE, she served as the coordinator for the Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP) conducted at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in eastern North Carolina. DCERP focused on the function and sustainability of coastal estuarine systems in the context of climate change. Cohen also has worked and studied ecosystem resilience and fire-based land management solutions and heads up the Carolina Drone Lab (CARDNL).



Tom BythellTom Bythell has been the university arborist and forester for 24 years and oversees grounds recycling. He cares for Carolina’s trees as if they were his own children. For his passion and commitment to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, Bythell is one of six Carolina employees to win the 2020 C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards.





Michael Everhart Michael Everhart earned a degree in environmental science from UNC in 2013 and then spent several years honing his woodworking passion as he founded a small company with a friend and built custom furniture. Everhart then returned to UNC for grad school and in 2019, he got his masters in city and regional planning. Carolina Tree Heritage grew from work that Everhart did for his master’s project, helping to hatch the idea and put the program together. Everhart now splits his time between working for a local planning firm and spending time in the shop, where he builds items for CTH and serves as an advisor to the program. Everhart lives in Orange County with an amazing 4-year-old daughter and a wonderful wife of many years. They keep chickens, bees and a large vegetable garden and have dreams of starting a farm.

Ella ThomasElla Thomas is the first-ever intern for Carolina Tree Heritage. She is a junior at UNC studying environmental science with a focus on sustainable agriculture and a minor in environmental justice. She is interested in the mutualistic relationship between humans and nature and how we can support each other and care for each other. Outside of school, Ella enjoys baking, spending time with her young niece and nephews, and spending time at the Eno River in Durham, where she grew up. Her plans after graduation are to travel and then get her certification to teach elementary schoolers.


Maps + Inventory

View Map of Heritage Trees on Campus

View Lumber Inventory


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