By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
November 23, 2010
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LEESBURG — The massive oak, its muscled limbs draped with Spanish moss, is a monument of nature. The tree has survived centuries of storms, dodged a developer's spade and inspired artists and poets. "If only we all were so strong, so resilient, so beautiful," said Mary Moore, who is credited with pushing Lake County commissioners to designate the sprawling live oak with the 215-foot canopy as a "heritage tree." Dubbed the Lanier Live Oak for a reputed connection to Southern nature poet Sidney Lanier, the tree in Pennbrooke Fairways, a gated community on State Road 44 west of Leesburg, is the second in the past six months to win the designation that provides an extra layer of protection from over-trimming or removal.