The Jackson Legacy Trail of Trees
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John and Joyce Jackson decided to spend their spare time planting trees all over the country. It took them ten years to accomplish the feat of traveling to all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Their reasons for embarking upon this project were to celebrate Joyce’s recovery from breast cancer, to do something for the environment, to commemorate their last name by planting in as many places named Jackson, as possible, and to leave something behind that would extend beyond their time on earth. The name they attached to the effort was The Jackson Legacy.

To increase the scope of the concept, they decided to seek direct involvement by the people living in the communities marked for visits. The overall response was spectacular. Every single place cooperated in assigning a location for the tree plantings and most turned it into a civic event signified by keys to the city, days named in their honor, awards, commendations and numerous other expressions of merit.

The media response was extensive as evidenced by forty-four newspaper articles, six television appearances, several radio spots, mention in two books and in two magazines, Family Circle and American Forest. They also received commendations from the Arbor Day Foundation, the National Park Service and the United States Army, just to name a few of the more prominent ones.

At some point in the process it became apparent that these undertakings had good potential for the writing of a book detailing their experiences. Running throughout these experiences were the basic themes of environmental conservation, travel adventure, family and community values. But there was one more, strong element they didn’t fully appreciate until actually working on the book draft – that was the consistent relationship to Native American history that permeated from most of the places they had been.

They discovered that just as the prominence of Andrew Jackson had given rise to most of the places named in his honor around the country so, too, did his influence produce some of the unkindest effects on the Native American population that extend even to the present day. It is this additional aspect that lends a deeper perspective to what John and Joyce Jackson write about in their book “Trail of Trees”.

The book is arranged in chronological chapters for each state visited. It outlines the route taken to reach each site, the uniqueness of each place and its history, especially as it relates to notable local involvement with Native Americans.

It’s a book that can be appreciated on many levels; it has appeal for those interested in the environment, as a story of family adventure, a travelogue highlighting the variety of living conditions around this great country, or it can be an easy-to-read, informative source for young people to learn more about their country’s history and its native peoples.

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