Groups work to protect land around ancient SC oak

      By BRUCE SMITHAssociated Press

      JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - The Angel Oak has been around South Carolina for an estimated five centuries. And the nonprofit Lowcountry Open Land Trust is working to make sure 1 of the most majestic trees in the state is around for centuries to come.

      The towering live oak on Johns Island has a trunk that is 25 feet in circumference and is the centerpiece of a small park. The Open Land Trust has mounted a fund drive to raise $1.2 million to buy 17 acres adjacent to the park to provide a needed buffer from development.

      Mike McShane of the trust says the effort has been helped with donations from the city of Charleston and thousands of citizens. The group will also apply for funds from the South Carolina Conservation Bank.

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