It’s Champion Tree Hunting Season! How to Bag Yourself the Next Big Tree
We have been celebrating our National Register of Champion Trees all month, and we want to share how you can be a part of helping us find our next Champion!
The national database has basic and advanced search features that allow users to search by species, measurements, location and point total. The 2019 list has over 700 national champions, but there are more than 200 species without a champion. You can become a Champion Tree hunter by helping us find one of these trees! All you need to get started is a measuring tape and a ruler. Here are the steps:
First, determine if your tree is an eligible species. Species must be recognized in the United States as either native, non-native and naturalized or recognized as a naturally-occurring variety (hybrids, cultivars, ornamentals and unclassified varieties are excluded). American Forests bases this list on sources such as the USDA Plants Database andthe Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Next you’ll need to measure your tree. Use American Forests’ Champion Trees Measuring Guidelines Handbook to ensure you’re measuring your tree the right way, and compare it to the current National Champion for your tree’s species. (View the current National Register of Champion Trees.) You’ll need three measurements to nominate your tree: Trunk Circumference, Height and Crown Spread. Trees of the same species are compared using the following calculation: Trunk Circumference (inches) + Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Spread (feet) = Total Points.
If you think you’ve found a winner, nominate your tree using our online nomination form. You’ll need to take pictures of your tree, upload them and attach them to the online nomination form before submitting your nomination.
A State Coordinator will verify the information you have submitted, considering the nominated tree’s health, species identification and measurements. The National Register of Champion Trees works with Champion Tree State Coordinators across the country to confirm these aspects of each nomination to ensure the overall validity of nominations and the credibility of the National Register. The Program is active in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is used as a model for several programs around the world.
If your tree is crowned a National Champion Tree or a National Co-Champion Tree, you will not only receive a certificate in the mail from American Forests, but you’ll be a part of our grand tradition of understanding, protecting and preserving these amazing specimens for generations to come.
Learn more about how you can assist in our other conservation efforts or how you can become a sponsor of our work through your donation here.