Rain wasn't the only thing to go down the storm drain Saturday night when a tornado hit the University's Morris Arboretum, destroying the fruits of more than 20 years of research. Saturday night, at approximately 7:30 p.m., a localized tornado hit the arboretum, destroying 250 trees and damaging an additional 250 more. "We are still taking our final inventory," said Director Paul Meyer. "Close to 200 trees, among which were some of our finest specimens, were destroyed." This storm was even more destructive than a similar storm in 1989, when damage totaled $200,000. Although it is expected that costs for repairs will be greatly in excess of repairs for the last big storm, this will not be costly for the University, Meyer said. "We are covered by insurance," he said. However, Meyer said that there was some damage that insurance cannot recover. The trees come from places as distant as Asia. "Many trees are irreplacable," Meyer said. "Many were collected on the other side of the world." Since this arboretum also conducts a significant amount of research, the storm damaged beyond repair many experiments which have been in progress for too long to easily replicate. "There were a number of plants which have been in various research projects for 10 to 15 years," Meyer said. The arboretum, located in Chestnut Hill, houses over 6800 trees and shrubs, stretching across 166 acres. "The Morris Arboretum contains some of Philadelphia's newest, rarest and largest trees," said Arboretum spokesperson Agatha Hughes. "The plants represent over 1648 different kinds of trees and shrubs, including North American and European species, and form one of the world's greatest collections of Asiatic plants to be found outside of Asia."Comments powered by Disqus
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