Author: Jennifer Spencer

My name is Jennifer Spencer and I am thrilled to be a part of the team. Writing is a passion of mine and I love to share all of the best wonders in the earth with you. When I am not busy writing, I enjoy spending time with my pet turtle (Arnie) and my lovely daughter. Thank you all for allowing me to share my stories with you!

Carbon-Neutral Fuel Developed From Sewage Makes Debut

Once humans discovered they could utilize fossil fuels for power and heat, innovation with sources of energy have been pretty limited to accepted forms. Carbon emissions are linked to pollution and advancing climate change, driving companies to develop eco-friendly solutions and broaden the concept of viable fuels.

Thanks to companies like Ingelia, technological advancements can transform sewage into carbon-neutral biochar. Considering the UN’s emphasis on the need for rapid solutions to halt harmful carbon emissions, the development of waste into fuel is a welcome solution.

Energy Post Haste From Waste

Typically sewage and waste materials created by humans have been left to linger in landfills, or are subject to acceptable but limited disposal methods. Ingelia is an innovative tech company in Spain that has managed to harness the power of hydrothermal carbonization to develop biomass from sewage.

The process is extremely complicated but provides a few different variations of cleaner fuel from recycled material. Biomass refers to the biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. Biochar is the high carbon content which remains after organic biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen, a process known as the hydrothermal carbonization process. This same process can be used at a lower temperature to create biocoal. Biocoal has similar properties to fossil coal, producing about the same energy as a low-grade fossil fuel.

Biochar, though, has the most promising potential. Once it is created, biochar can be utilized in two ways. It can be used as a valuable soil amendment, because of its high carbon composition. Composts generally lose carbon rapidly after soil addition, but biochar uses carbon sequestration, meaning it traps the carbon in to be used more efficiently and effectively for a longer period of time. The second potential for biochar is the conversion to biofuel through a gasification process. Biochar can be converted in an entrained-flow gasifier into a carbon monoxide and hydrogen-containing fuel gas that is suitable for powering cogeneration units. The conversion of biomass to biofuel creates an opportunity for a cleaner and more sustainable future given the energy demands of today.

For too long, humans have relied heavily on the burning of fossil fuels for energy needs. Ingelia is a leading developer of biofuel, which is a cleaner fuel solution made from recycled waste products

A Smelly Solution

The increasing demand for energy solutions that are sustainable and zero-emission have propelled companies like Ingelia forward. Organic waste and sewage that is transformed into clean-burning biocarbon releases less nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur into the environment.

Under the right temperature and pressure, compost and sewage are dehydrated into viable fuel, and harmful components are liquefied over a process of eight hours. Since the slurry of waste is processed in closed tanks to reduce noxious odors, biochar can be manufactured closer to populated areas.

Foundations Of Fuel

Creating eco-friendly fuel biochar utilizes collected organic trash and waste, garden waste, and sewage from treatment plants. Before being considered as an untapped sustainable form of energy, sludge would usually get incinerated, buried in a landfill, spread on land, or dumped into waterways.

Due to the processes of sewage and organic matter by Ingelia and other companies, low-cost liquid biofuel, and solid biocoal is available for agricultural and industrial use at a fraction of traditional coal or fertilizers.

Green Energy Powerhouse

Fuel created from sludge, biological waste, and organic waste is beneficial because of the amount of microbial activity it incites, carbon, nitrogen, and fats. Mimicking the natural process of the Earth to create waste into fossil fuels, similar techniques used with petroleum refinement can be applied to waste to produce biofuel in solid and liquid form.

Biochar can be used to power batteries, enrich the soil, or be used to produce biopolymers to develop plastics.

A Carbon Neutral Future Today

Ingelia projects that they will be able to replace up to 220,000 tons of coal with biocoal on an annual basis by 2022. The process of using sewage to develop sustainable, carbon-neutral fuel has been applied to waste plants in Italy, The UK, and other countries.

Biological waste and organic matter are becoming a more widely accepted significant source of energy, as it can be manufactured into liquid and solid fuel in less than a day, compared to a 30-day timeframe. As Ingenia continues to push it’s innovations for fuel forward, other companies around the world are following suit.

Missing Antarctic Lakes Leave Scientists Baffled

A group of lakes suspected to exist beneath the Antarctic ice has mysteriously vanished. Scientists studying the patterns of ice movement in the area are left scratching their heads. The absence of the lakes makes explaining glacial behavior much more difficult, but scientists are determined to find answers.

Empty Pockets

According to satellite imagery used to track ice movement, scientists believed there to be a series of lakes hidden under the glaciers in East Antarctica. The data suggested the presence of four larger lakes and 11 smaller ones, but new radar imaging suggests otherwise. Only one of the suspected larger lakes appears to have any liquid in it, while the majority of the other ice chambers seem to be empty.

The glacier moving over the top of these empty pockets is called Recovery Glacier. Recovery is a calm glacier, meaning its movements are consistent and it isn’t undergoing any drastic changes at the moment. Scientists have taken an interest in this particular glacier because it has the potential to shift its nature in response to climate change. To better understand those changes, however, glaciologists need to know more about the mystery lakes below its mass.

The Power To Move The Earth

Glacial movement is typically lateral, that is, they tend to flow like rivers in one general direction unless their path is interrupted. Recovery Glacier flows from the Shackleton Range Mountains of inland Eastern Antarctica out to the Filchner Ice Shelf, which stops at the Weddell Sea. Vertical motion is what sticks out to scientists.

In other areas across the continent, the vertical movement of ice has been linked to the presence of underground lakes. In addition to holding vital clues about our planet’s climate history and helping us better understand where it might go in the future, each of these lakes is an isolated ecosystem. Studying them can help scientists better understand how life can survive under extreme conditions, which provides valuable information toward finding extraterrestrial life.

A Puzzling Conundrum

With the information from radar scans of the area underneath Recovery Glacier revealing nothing where scientists expected to find water, the vertical movement of the ice in the area is suddenly far more baffling. If there isn’t any water present in the chambers below the ice, glaciologists aren’t sure what could be causing the ground to rise and fall. To understand the impact of climate change on the glacier, scientists need to uncover precisely what those chambers hold.

Radar is a preferred method of learning what’s under the Antarctic ice, but its readings can be confounded by changes in the consistency of the ice. To determine what is truly going on, scientists plan to study the area using explosives. Detonating minor charges and analyzing the way the sound travels through the ground can reveal more accurately what’s beneath their feet. The current theory is that the empty pockets beneath Recovery Glacier fill and drain in a cycle. The next set of tests will hopefully provide answers.

While scientists are busy studying the structures under the ice in Antarctica, the continent’s underwater glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

WWF Reports Wildlife Populations Rapidly Declining Thanks To Human Behavior

The rate at which climate change is rapidly transforming the habitat of wildlife is eradicating rare and common species alike. Humans continue to contribute to carbon emissions, and plastic trash and acidification are ravaging the oceans. The most gentle and vulnerable of wildlife are unable to speak for their fate, struggling to survive in the face of humanity’s troubling impact on the planet.

Age Of Decline And Destruction

Humans may obsess over the threat of an extinction-level event posed by a meteor strike or some other cataclysmic disaster. Sadly, it is the actions of human beings that are more likely to bring about a gradually apocalyptic end to life on Earth as we know it. Wildlife is disappearing from this planet at an alarming rate.

Scientists and researchers have been keeping a closer watch on planetary changes, and the wildlife population has been drastically reduced by 60% since 1970. Due to human activity, the quality of waterways and land to support wildlife is quickly becoming unsustainable.

Mass Extinction Imminent

Things are in a dire state, and humans need to make sweeping global changes to become zero-emission and cease activities which destroy the habitats and food sources of wildlife. Humans, plants, marine life, and wildlife on the surface all share an intertwined destiny.

Humans are the only creatures on the planet that have so radically mismanaged natural resources, and thrown the equilibrium off balance to support all life. It is projected that by 2020, nearly 2/3 of the wildlife population will disappear forever because of human influence.

Race To Repopulate And Restore

The time to sound the alarm was decades ago, but we may be quickly approaching a point of no return. If enough biodiversity is removed and unable to recover, humans will soon feel a painful trickle-down effect.

This may be the last generation with the opportunity to reverse the damage that has harmed coral reefs and oceans, reduced the quality of soil, and made the air impossible to breathe in some places. Many people have spoken up to make efforts to repopulate and protect threatened wildlife, but a new Global Deal is sorely needed.

Most Vulnerable Creatures

Polar bears are being threatened by starvation, thanks to the loss of glacial ice that allows them to hunt seals. Animals such as the Orangutan and the Sumatran Rhino are critically endangered because of massive deforestation. Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and many species of fish are having their once vast numbers, petering out into oblivion.

As much as humans depend on sustaining their life from the oceans and land, so too, do wildlife. Exploitation of the planet by human industry, uncontrolled consumer demand, pollution, and unsustainable practices are to blame.

Shifting Sights For Survival

This generation may be the last to protect the critically threatened and endangered wildlife on our planet. The time to develop and implement sustainable models for managing natural resources, and enact cleaner business policies is now.

Once enough wildlife are gone forever from our oceans, lakes, rivers, jungles, prairies, and savannahs, humans will be the next to follow suit. There is still time for humans to put a halt to the collapse of our fragile ecosystem, and restore it to balance.

MORE: These are the twelve most endangered animal species on Earth.

Wombats’ Cube-Shaped Poop Finally Explained

Wombats are forest-dwelling marsupials native to Australia. If their cuddly cuteness wasn’t enough to interest you, their poop might. Unlike every other animal on Earth, wombats poop cubes. Biologists have been confounded for years by the creatures’ oddly-shaped scat. Now, after one of the more bizarre studies of our time, we finally have answers.

An Ecology Lesson

A quintessential part of Australian culture and wildlife, wombats are first depicted in aboriginal Dreamtime, painted on the walls of a cave. The oldest of these depictions date back around 4,000 years and describes the wombat as an animal of little worth. Mainland aboriginal stories claim that the wombat was created when a man was punished for being selfish. A Tasmanian origin story claims that wombats were favored and protected by one of the Great Spirits.

Historically, the wombats’ range was much more extensive than it is today. In the early 1900s, the tiny marsupials were declared to be vermin, and a hunting bounty was placed on them. Their meat was once used in a classic Australian stew, but since protections have been imposed on the remaining population, the delicacy has since waned in popularity. The most significant threat to their survival is human interference and encroachment on their habitat.

Unique Among Their Kind

Marsupials are set apart from other mammals most notably by their pouches. When a marsupial gives birth, the still-developing young remains inside the mother’s pouch, latched to its food source, until it is old enough to move about on its own. The pouch is situated on the front lower part of the mother’s torso, usually opening toward her head. In wombats, the pouch is inverted, opening downward.

Their preferred habitats are forestland, mountainous area, and heathland. They can adapt to different habitats as needed, which is a valuable survival trait, given their current battle for living space with humans. As burrowing creatures, their backward-facing pouch prevents the mother from knocking dirt in on her offspring while digging. Aside from this upside-down pouch, wombats differ from other marsupials, and other mammals in general, by their cube-shaped feces.

Poo Squared

Although we still don’t know what the evolutionary purpose of wombats’ cube-shaped poop is, we at least now know how it happens. Scientists recently had the opportunity to dissect and analyze the intestines of a recently-dead wombat who had been euthanized after being hit by a car. Their study revealed that the lower portion of the large intestine was responsible for the molding of the bizarre droppings.

Differences in elasticity in the intestine walls are behind the uniquely geometric specimens. As the fecal matter passes through the lower intestine, its moisture is removed, and the masses begin to take on their signature shape as the walls of the organ stretch to accommodate the shaping of the scat. A single wombat produces between 80 and 100 pieces of poo every night, with each piece being almost an inch in size. Their droppings appear to serve as territory markers and a way to attract a mate.

In other bizarre, smelly news from the animal kingdom, tigers are uncontrollably attracted to men’s cologne, especially Obsession by Calvin Klein.

UFO Or Lenticular Cloud? Learn More About These Eerie Cloud Formations

Think you see a UFO hovering in the sky? You might want to take a closer look before you run and call NASA. It is more likely that you have spotted a rare lenticular cloud in the sky than an intergalactic spaceship. Depending on the time of day and lighting, these flying saucer-looking cloud formations can look pretty otherworldly when illuminated.

The Truth Is Up There

The way most lenticular clouds appear, a believer in aliens and conspiracies can’t help but think it’s a cover for a mothership. Science can explain the phenomenon of lenticular cloud formation, bursting any theories or myths wide open.

It probably doesn’t help that lenticular clouds can quickly form and rapidly dissipate, as expected of a UFO avoiding detection. Lenticular clouds are usually sighted in mountainous areas, but they can make an appearance on low-lying flat land.

Calvin Klein’s Obsession For Men: The Ultimate Tiger Bait?

There wasn’t a high school girl in the late 80s or early 90s that didn’t love the smell of Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men. The ubiquitous scent, laced with notes of tangerine, grapefruit, and bergamot, was the go-to cologne for many a teenaged boy. Today, it’s seeing a huge resurgence in popularity . . . in the wildlife kingdom.

Tiger T-1

According to several sources, forest rangers in central India are using Obsession to lure a man-eating tiger out of the forest. This latest plan comes after a two-year-long effort to capture the beast, during which time she’s killed an estimated 13 people.

The 5-year-old tiger, known as T-1, is unique in her boldness and lack of fear. Although the big cats compete with humans for natural resources in the region, they rarely deliberately hunt people. In fact, according to The Telegraph, tigers accounted for only 92 human deaths in a three-year period between 2013 and 2017. Most of those deaths occurred when the animals were caught by surprise (which is happening more and more as their natural territory is encroached upon).

So why is T-1 deliberately intentionally seeking out people? Scientists say that on occasion a tiger will lose its natural fear of humans and see them as prey. And they believe that’s what happened with this particular female.

How Cologne Can Help

Animals are driven by their sense of smell far more than humans. And, indeed, just the tiniest whiff of pheromone can deliver a powerful message. So seems to be the case with not just Calvin Klein’s Obsession, but several different perfumes and colognes.

A 2010 study at the Bronx Zoo showed that big cats are attracted to certain synthetic odors. Scents tested included Chanel No. 5, Jovan Musk, and CK Obsession–but Obsession for Men was the clear winner. The favorite kept cheetahs intrigued for a full 11.1 minutes, almost a minute more than the runner-up, L’Air du Temps.

Two years later, researchers captured their first man-eating tiger using the cologne.

The reason they like it so much? Civetone. The popular perfume ingredient is actually a pheromone that’s secreted by the small wild cat (from a gland which is, unfortunately, located near its anus). The scent of the ingredient is referred to as a fecal floral–according to perfumer Mandy Aftel, “[It] smells like poop, really. Poop. It’s funk.”

When big cats catch a whiff, they go crazy.

Hope For T-1

Indian authorities hope that by using the cologne as bait, they will be able to lure the tiger (and her two cubs) out of the forest for a trap-and-relocate effort. However, odds aren’t in their favor.

For months now, authorities have been trying to trap the family of tigers, using animals such as goats and horses as bait. The New York Times has noted that the efforts have been in vain, as T-1 “rips into them” and eats them quickly before vanishing.

Let’s hope that for the sake of all involved, the cologne does the trick.

Tiger lovers, rejoice! Endangered Bengal Tigers in Nepal have doubled their numbers in recent years!

Look Inside This Disney-themed Home On Sale For Less Than $1 Million

Do you ever visit Disney World and wish you could live there? Are you the biggest Disney fan in the world and you wish you could be in your own Disney movie? Maybe you pretended to be a princess when you were younger.

Well, if this describes you, you’re in luck. A Disney-themed house is now on sale in Palm Bay, Florida, for less than $1 million. With exquisite Disney-decorated bedrooms, two elaborate Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pools, bathrooms, kitchens, and more, this real estate find will be the perfect house where the vacation will never have to end.

Making A Great First Impression With Your Friends

For anyone wanting to live in this one-of-a-kind house, you won’t have to worry about ruining a first impression with your friends. They’ll be amazed once they notice the stained-glass front door featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Your friends will know right away that you’re a serious Disney fan.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

The entryway also features Disney murals on the walls, from the floor-to-ceiling mural of Cinderella at her castle to another mural of Snow White and her forest friends decorating the wall near the stairs. You’re always surrounded by your favorite Disney friends.

Be Our Guest For A Delicious Breakfast

The kitchen may seem basic and small, but don’t judge it too soon. Take a look at the fun mural featuring the main Disney gang, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

The mural is, of course, the main focal point of the room. Every meal will feel like you’re dining with your favorite Disney characters, from a delicious breakfast to a holiday feast. Be our guest, anyone?

Plenty Of Themed Bedrooms

The house has five bedrooms and each one is decorated with a themed mural. For example, one bedroom is painted pink and has a Winnie the Pooh mural. Another room is “under the sea” themed for The Little Mermaid.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

Do you have a favorite Disney character? Chances are there’s a bedroom for that character. Whether you have children or not, you’ll feel right at home.

Six Luxurious Bathrooms

The house has six bathrooms and each one is luxurious with giant soaking bathtubs. One bathroom has a Mickey Mouse-shaped mirror and frosted flowers on the window.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

But if you think this is the last time you’ll see Mickey in the house, you’ll sadly be mistaken. The character’s signature mouse ears are scattered throughout the house. It’s a real-life scavenger hunt in honor of Disney’s icon.

Your Very Own Amusement Park In Your Backyard

While the house is plenty of fun, outside is even more fun. Living in Florida, you’ll be spending more time outdoors. Luckily, you’ll have your own amusement park with this house.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

The backyard features two elaborate Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pools, a bridge, and a grotto. The yard also includes an eight-acre lot for more fun.

In case you’re ready to make an offer, the house is on the market for $850,000, which surprisingly isn’t that expensive. After all, you’ll be living in a Disney paradise. That’s priceless for the biggest Disney fan.

Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty

In other interesting real estate news, check out this castle in Scotland with hidden caves that have been used for thousands of years.

This Volcanic Hotspot In New Zealand Features A Natural Nuclear-Green Lake

Located near the center of New Zealand’s northern island, just a half hour south of the town of Rotorua, the landscape looks like something out of an oil painting. Mud bogs and geysers bubble while colorful pools of mineral-rich water decorate the ground. This majestic, picturesque place is called Wai-O-Tapu, which is Māori for “sacred waters.” The bountiful colors of its natural water features are sure to stun and awe anyone. Of all its awe-inspiring features, one humble body of water draws plenty of attention away from its neighbors.

Nature’s Rainbow Display

The Devil’s Bath is a remarkably verdant pond of sulfur-rich water that sticks out like a sore thumb, even in the midst of a place as colorful as Wai-O-Tapu. The area gets its colors from minerals brought to the surface by volcanic activity, namely sulfur. The geothermal area covers about 7 square miles and is a part of New Zealand’s Taupo Volcanic Zone, just north of the Reporoa Caldera.


Nobody seems to recall where the name for Devil’s Bath came from, but its vibrant green color is easily explained. Sulfur deposits from the subterranean volcanic network that colors and heats the entire park float to the top of the water and give it its signature hue. All of the colors in the park come from different volcanic minerals in the pools or the soil, and the color varies depending on which are most prevalent.

Behind The Scenes Geology

Volcanic hotspots and the colorful springs that tend to bloom from them aren’t uncommon. Yellowstone National Park in the United States features some of the world’s most famous geothermal activity, from Old Faithful to Mammoth Hot Springs. Other geothermal sites exist around the world, though not all of them are grandiose displays of color and water. Some cities, such as Idaho’s state capital, Boise, are powered in part by geothermal energy.

The heat comes from remnant volcanic activity and passages underground in places where the Earth’s crust was heated by an exceptionally hot area of magma in the Earth’s mantle. Whether the geothermal source is being tapped for municipal heat or it is bubbling to the surface through natural openings in the water table, anyone who goes near should do so with caution.

Dangers Of Geothermal Sources

While these naturally-occurring phenomena are undoubtedly exciting and often quite beautiful, anyone looking to visit them should always heed any warning signs posted in the areas. Hot springs are typically safe, but some are hotter than others and may be marked with signs warning prospective bathers to keep out. Geysers are as hazardous as they are magnificent, and should never be too closely approached, as the water that gushes from them is often well above boiling, and even the steam can cause severe burns.

Aside from soaring temperatures around these incredible natural features, some can do damage without the aid of heat. Volcanic activity produces many different types of chemicals, some of which can chemically burn the skin or irritate the eyes and airways. Whether or not signs are telling you to keep out, geothermal landmarks are best viewed from a safe distance and always left untouched.

Check out these other spectacles seen around the globe that are so amazing it’s hard to believe you’re on Earth!

History’s Secrets Lie Hidden In the Caves Beneath A Scottish Castle

Culzean Castle sits along the Ayrshire coast of Scotland, perched atop a cave-riddled cliff that’s steeped in as much legend as it is history. Archaeologists have found indications of human presence in the caves dating back to the Iron Age, around 135-325 CE. More recently, the caves were used as a storehouse for Coif Castle and the stone tower that pre-dated it, going back to as early as the 14th century. What is perhaps more intriguing than the history of the caves and their castle are the legends tied to this place.

But First, A History Lesson

Although the plot of land where Culzean Castle now sits has been coveted real estate since the 1300s, the castle itself wasn’t built until the late 1700s. It was completed in 1792, featuring many luxurious living quarters, an oval grand staircase, and a saloon in a circular tower that faces out to sea.

Following the Second World War, the castle was frequented by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was gifted access to the apartment at the top of the castle in recognition of his service to the Allied forces during the war. Today, the manor is a tourist attraction and can be rented out for events and weddings. Several TV shows and movies have also featured the fortress in recent years. An artist’s rendering of Culzean Castle has been printed on the back of five-pound notes minted by the Royal Bank of Scotland since 1987.

The Legend That Precedes It

Numerous legends surround the caves beneath the castle. Although the caves were known to be an area used for storage, according to legend they may have also served as an excellent place to hide. During the 1500s, a resident cannibal set up shop along the Ayrshire coast and is rumored to have possibly used the caves beneath Culzean Castle as a hideout. Sawney Bean and a small group of followers terrorized the nearby countryside, abducting people and taking them off to who-knows-where to make a meal of them.

Eventually, he and his supporters were flushed out and brought to justice for their crimes. Nobody knows precisely where they had set up shop, but early this century, old human remains were found inside the caves, possibly belonging to one of his victims. On a less gruesome note, the 1700s brought smuggler traffic to the caves. Goods from the Isle of Mann are suspected to have been brought to the caves beneath the castle and hidden there for later distribution inland. The likelihood of such an operation being carried out under the inhabitants’ noses is highly unlikely, so any smuggling that went on was almost certainly mutually beneficial.

Who Doesn’t Love A Good Ghost Story?

We end with a brief overview of Culzean Castle’s otherworldly residents. According to most sources, seven ghosts inhabit the castle, though four are particularly notable. The first is a black or gray apparition that is said to travel up the stairs from the State Bedroom on the first floor to the second level of the building. Another ghost is that of a little girl who is often seen wandering around by the kitchens. The third haunting is believed to be the spirit of Margaret Erskine of Dun, the 1st Marquess of Ailsa and wife of the 12th Earl of Cassillis. Her picture is hung on the wall at the top of the oval staircase, and her eyes are said to follow you as you walk past. A mist is sometimes seen flowing across the balcony, emanating from her portrait.

Finally, we end with the story of the piper and his dog. A young piper boy was sent to travel the caves from the castle into town to prove that they were safe. His music could be heard from the castle, gradually fading away as he ventured farther into the network of tunnels until suddenly, it stopped. A search party was sent to look for him after he didn’t show up in town, but he was never found. Legend states that sometimes his piping can still be heard coming from the caves below the castle.

Two Generations Of Trees Have Owned This Plot Of Land

If you thought that only people owned land, you would be mistaken. Since 1890, a 201-square-foot circle of land has belonged to two generations of white oak tree. According to legend and newspaper records, the original tree stood on the property of William Henry Jackson, son of politician and Revolutionary War veteran, James Jackson. On August 12, 1890, The Athens Banner printed their front page title with the article “Deeded to Itself,” about a tree that had its own property rights.

The Tree That Owns Itself

The legend of the tree may have existed as a folk story or rumor prior to the publication of the news article, but from the time of the publication onward, the Tree That Owns Itself became a landmark within the state of Georgia. Jackson supposedly had fond childhood memories of the tree and decided to protect it by writing a deed that promised the tree itself and the land within 8 feet of its base to the massive oak, according to the Athens Banner article. The truth of the article remains unknown, as the anonymous author is the only one who ever claimed to have seen the tree’s deed, and they even say in their article that few people had heard of the legend.

Picking the legend apart further, the tree does not sit on the plot of land that belonged to the Jackson family, and though there is a plaque with the alleged date of the deeding at the base of the tree that was supposedly placed there by the neighboring landowners and Jackson, there are no legal records that back it up. Furthermore, Jackson did not grow up in Athens, making the claims of his childhood memories in the tree’s branches rather shaky. Property maps of the area show the tree’s present location as being part of the road easement for Finley Street, one of its border roads.

Even though the legal backing for the Tree That Owns Itself is shaky, the county and city recognize the tree for its legendary status. By the early 1900s, the tree showed signs of erosion around the base, and in 1907, an ice storm caused irreparable damage to the already-weakened tree. On October 9, 1942, the tree finally fell, succumbing to its injuries and rot. Some suggest that the tree, which was between 150 and 400 years old by the time it fell, had actually died a few years prior but had taken some time to fall. Within days of its demise, however, plans were put into motion to grow a new tree from one of its acorns.

The Son Of The Tree That Owns Itself

In 1946, in a continuation of the deed that once belonged to its parent tree, The Son Of The Tree That Owns Itself was planted on the very same plot of land. It assumed the provisions set forth by Jackson’s original deed, inheriting its autonomy and its land from its father. On its plot, the plaque deeding the land still stands, as does another commemorative plaque naming the new tree as the scion of the original.

Though the story surrounding these two trees is more fiction than fact, The Tree That Owns Itself remains an important symbol to the town of Athens, Georgia. It stands as a major tourist attraction and remains one of the most famous trees in the United States, even to this day.