Sheri Shannon, Big Tree Program Coordinator
Dale Luthringer, environmental education specialist at Cook Forest State Park, and Bob Leverett of the Native Tree Society invited me to give a presentation about the National Big Tree Program for an advanced tree-measuring workshop this past spring.
Attending the workshop was a great opportunity for me to meet members of the big tree community and network with other tree enthusiasts. As we hiked through the park, I got a chance to chat with Scott Wade, state coordinator for Pennsylvania’s Champion Tree Program, and Turner Sharp, volunteer for West Virginia’s Big Tree Program, and become more acquainted with some of the people that make the National Big Tree Program possible. I also met Joan Maloof, founder of the Old-Growth Forest Network — a project to educate people about old-growth forests and their preservation — of which Cook Forest State Park was the first forest to become a member.
Later that evening, I gave my presentation at the Sawmill Center for Arts in a big open room that was once part of the old sawmill. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “What do you tell a room full of people who already know and support your program?” The answer? Lots of stories and funny anecdotes about my experience as the program coordinator. Overall, the trip to Pennsylvania was a major success, and American Forests looks forward to partnering with the Native Tree Society for future measuring workshops.