The Champion Fallen Oak, Nathaniel Pryor Reed, SLR/IRL

Champion oak tree in Angel Oak Park, on Johns Island, South Carolina, National Registry of Champion Oaks page, 2015, (Image: B.B. Easton)
Christine Stapleton, Palm Beach Post 2014–regional-govt–politics/tales-nature-and-power-award-enough-for-legendary-enviro-nat-reed/IGeJCG9mimBDuetearCDvN/
My parent’s fallen oak tree, 2016.

Nathaniel Pryor Reed 1933-2018

Obituary, Washington Post:

Moon through the giant oak tree at my parents house, 11-6-14. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch)

The death of elderly Mr Nathaniel Reed, was not completely unexpected. He was like an ancient champion oak, old and beautifully weathered. But the news of his death was shocking, bringing  tears and heartbreak to the many touched by his long branches, and the seeds he spread along the way.

I can never “not remember” Mr Reed. He was always, since my earliest childhood, a figment of my greater imagination and consciousness, an example of what it meant to have a meaningful life and purpose,  to walk and make change in the tainted world of politics, to choose the greater-good over greed, to inspire.

During my Sewall’s Point mayorship in 2011,  I first became active in the environmental community for which Martin County is known. Mr Reed planted the seeds, writing me a note here and there, on his quality stationary; in 2016, he gave the maximum amount to my campaign when I ran for county commissioner, District 1, and in his final years, Mr Reed wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Stuart News of which he sent me a copy.

At that time my student proposed Constitution Revision Commission proposal “A Right to a Clean Environment” was getting clobbered by Affiliated Industries, the Florida Chamber, The Florida Agriculture Coalition, and other powers who had assembled a legal team, including a former Florida Chief Justice to squash this threatening idea.

I was so worn down, and had been working so hard. Mr Reed’s letter and support reinvigorated me and the students. And although the proposal did not make the vote, it made smarter people than me on the CRC and throughout the state think, about how our paradise of Florida has become so polluted, and what we can do for change.

Let’s once again read Mr Reed’s words, at the trunk of the fallen champion oak remembering that we are his acorns, or even his resurrection fern…

Thank you Mr Reed. I am forever grateful. We will work towards your legacy.

Letter: Proposed amendment a brave effort to ensure a clean environment

Dec. 8, 2017

Thank you for the Dec. 1 editorial supporting the right to a clean environment!

The “usual suspects” are opposing the constitutional amendment proposed by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, which would receive strong support from the vast majority of Florida voters, just as they quietly opposed Amendment 1.

The fact that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Everglades Foundation have at last identified every polluter in the vast Okeechobee headwaters is an astonishing feat. The sheer number of polluters is mind-boggling.

The failure to enforce the possibly unenforceable standard (best management practices) shines through the research as testament to the carelessness of our state governmental agencies about enforcing strict water quality standards within the watershed.

There is not a lake, river nor estuary in Florida that is not adversely impacted by agricultural pollution.

As one of the authors of the 1973 Clean Water Act, I attempted late in the process to include agricultural pollution in the bill, but the major congressional supporters of the pending bill felt that by adding controls on agricultural pollution the bill would fail.

Now, 54 years later, fertilizer and dairy wastes are the main contributors to the pollution of the waters of our nation. Algal blooms are all too common even on the Great Lakes.

The “usual suspects” may defeat Thurlow-Lippisch’s brave effort, but you are right: The issues won’t go away!

Lefty Durando’s column clearly states the issues involved in the decades-long struggle to protect the Arctic National Wild Life Refuge. Having been there several times as assistant secretary, I have joined a group of well-known environmentalists, Republicans and Democrats urging defeat of the proposal to open the critical habitat of the coast zone to exploratory drilling. I suspect it is a lost cause, but one worth the fight to preserve the “Serengeti of the North”!

Nathaniel Reed, Hobe Sound


The Right to a Clean Environment Should Be Written Into Florida’s Constitution, JTL, Stuart News:

News, Bruce Ritchie, Politico: Affiliated Industries Prepares to Fight a Right to a Clean Environment:

Resurrection fern

10 thoughts on “The Champion Fallen Oak, Nathaniel Pryor Reed, SLR/IRL

  1. Bravo, Jacqui ! This article is extremely important for such a time as this; our social fabric is eroding and giants like Mr. Reed are to be most admired. The void must be healed; we need his successor to rise up and lead the way…so that we may stand united under the oak.

  2. Thanks, Jacqui, for fighting for all of us. Mr. Reed will be dearly missed. I know his spirit will live on in others like you. I loved your imagery of the ancient oak. I visited the Angel Oak outside of Charleston last year. It was breathtaking. What an appropriate comparison.

  3. So nice, Jacqui. As I was drafting my Bio for this endeavor as county commissioner, District 2, I was thinking how to include Nat and Alita because I spent my 20’s on Jupiter Island working for the club and then personally for the Reeds as a nanny to the first 2 boys of Adrian/Michelle.

    I was working in the golf shop with Gil Cavanaugh and Alita approached me about nannying for her new baby grandson.

    I became pregnant with my older daughter Shaina but continued working for the family, even after her birth, and she tagged along, even when another baby came for Adrian and Michelle Reed. The Reeds were so good to me.

    I was so blessed to know the Nathaniel Reed family and Mr. Reed was always inspiring….”You’re doing a fine job, Caryn” “I’m proud of your Spanish, Caryn.

    I am so thankful that I attended a little speech of his this past March at the Appollo School…I got to hug him and he gave me update on the boys….

    I have suspended my bio for now……

    I do want you to know that I was at a forum at 10th street and used your name when asked about river.

    I did not say I know you or that you are a friend….just you were someone in this county whom knew more than I did.

    I am so thankful for your blogs.

    We all stand on the shoulders of giants…like Nat Reed.

    I personally believe that EVERY citizen needs to do something about the river, not just 5 commissioners….150,000 pitchforks could make a difference.

    You keep up the great work!

    Tell your mom my litigation is still going in the 19th, 4thdca, and I just submitted a jurisdictional brief to the Fl Supreme Court this past!

    A non-lawyer (homeschool mom) that took a property rights case to the Supreme Court of the United States is fun and she knew it! 8 years and going steady!! I love our rule of law! Caryn (Willow)


  4. Jacqui’s post makes tears come to my eyes. I have been inspired by Nat Reed ever since I heard him speak at an Audubon Society banquet around 1967. I had never heard such a passionate communicator. As an admirer of Live Oaks who grieves the loss of the one in our back yard, Jacqui’s imagery tugged at my heart strings. Then I read Tara Powers’ comment. Tara was valedictorian of Jacqui’s huge Martin County High School Class of 1982. That such an admirable woman with writing skills of her own, praises “my” Jacqui makes me proud.

  5. Your connection to this legend is not surprising Jacqui and personifies the non-partisan environmental history Florida enjoys. You are carrying the torch!

  6. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch for governor…Thank you for all the amazing work you do for us.

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