Chortitza Oak sapling planted at AMBS

AMBS alumnus Lyle Preheim of Freeman, South Dakota (at right), and AMBS Development Associate Randy Detweiler, MDiv (at left), work together to plant the sapling. (Credit: Annette Brill Bergstresser)
Lyle Preheim and Randy Detweiler plant the sapling that is a clone of a daughter of the Chortitza Oak in Ukraine. (Credit: Annette Brill Bergstresser)

On Friday, June 3, a tree sapling that is a clone of a daughter of the ancient Chortitza (Kor-teet’-zah) Oak was planted on the AMBS campus between Waltner Hall and Lambright Center. The original tree — a 700+-year-old oak tree located in Ukraine — was a beloved gathering place for Mennonites of the Chortitza Colony, the first Mennonite settlement in Russia (1789). It measured 118 feet (36 meters) in height and had a branch span of 142 feet (43.3 meters) in diameter.

In the image, AMBS alumnus Lyle Preheim of Freeman, South Dakota (at right), and AMBS Development Associate Randy Detweiler, MDiv (at left), work together to plant the sapling. Preheim shared with those present how he had created the clone by grafting a cutting from a daughter tree of the Chortitza Oak in Kansas onto a bur oak sapling. He and his spouse, Lois Janzen Preheim (MDiv 1979), donated the sapling to AMBS.

The tree planting was followed by a dinner featuring foods from trees and a presentation on the Chortitza Colony by Walter Sawatsky, PhD, AMBS Professor Emeritus of Church History and Mission, in the Lambright Center Dining Hall.

Learn more about the history of the tree


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