Big Tree Programs Across The Country:
If you have ever walked beneath the canopy of an old forest, or stood next to the trunk of a large tree, you understand that there are few sites as humbling, breathtaking, and imposing as that of an exceptionally large tree in person. They are living organisms that are as big as buildings.
But big trees are important for reasons far beyond spectacle.
They are a reminder that our very breath is interwoven with the forests, which are the lungs of the earth.
They are symbols that constantly invite us into meditations on time, value, and beauty.
In an effort to discover, celebrate, and care for these trees that mean so much, the non-profit conservation group American Forests began maintaining the National Register of Big Trees in 1940, which lists the national champions of every tree variety in the United States.
A champion tree is defined as the largest recorded living specimen of a certain variety of tree within a geographical area.
Following the lead of American Forests, every state in the country now has its own Big Tree Program to recognize the champions within its own borders. Even some towns and counties are getting in on the celebration.
Big Tree Programs are usually entirely voluntary endeavors, and anyone can submit a tree that they believe to be of noteworthy size. And just because you don’t live in the woods doesn’t mean you aren’t near a Champion. In fact, you are probably more likely to be near one. Champion Trees are usually found outside of forests in cemeteries, parks, and back yards where they have been spared from lumber harvesting and allowed to grow with little or no competition.
Celebrating the big trees reminds us that trees of all sizes are a gift and resource to be treasured and used responsibly.
Check the links below to explore your state’s Big Tree Program. Check out the Champions of your state and be sure to submit if you know a tree of impressive size!