By Stacey Leasca
June 18, 2019
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The tree that may have inspired one of Dr. Seuss’ greatest children’s books, "The Lorax," has died.

According to reports, the Monterey Cypress tree, located at Ellen Browning Scripps Park in San Diego, California, mysteriously died last week. Tim Graham, a spokesman for the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, told CNN there is "no definitive cause on why it fell."

According to Graham, the tree was estimated to be between 80 to 100 years old. It was alive and well when Dr. Seuss, who’s real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, lived in the Southern California community from 1948 until his death in 1991.

In one sliver of light from this terrible news, Graham explained to CNN that the city will attempt to salvage the large trunk section of the tree in hopes of repurposing it. The city, he added, is also planning to plant a replacement in the area.

Beyond the tree, Seuss​​​​​​​ left an indelible mark on San Diego. As The Smithsonian noted, there are plenty of other places fans can find a bit of Seuss​​​​​​​ magic in the city. That includes visiting the Legends Gallery and its permanent exhibit, "The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss." There, guests will find 70 years worth of Seuss​​​​​​​ art. Next, head to the Geisel Library at the University of California, San Diego, and read all of his books. Finally, stop in at Hotel Del Coronado, where you can find “I Dreamed I Was a Doorman at the Hotel del Coronado,” one of Seuss​​​​​​​’ first original paintings.

The other thing you can — do both in San Diego and beyond — to memorialize Seuss​​​​​​​ and his lessons is both read more to the children in your life, and share the lesson of the Lorax to live more sustainably and protect our precious Mother Earth.

“Seuss is the best selling and most influential children’s author in the United States,” Dr. Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University, told The Smithsonian. “He teaches children not only how to read but why and how to think. He wants children to take an interest in their world and make a better world.”

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