The Future of the National Champion Trees Program

Nearly a century ago, American Forests launched a campaign to locate the largest living specimens of America’s trees. The goal was to engage the public in forestry activities. The National Champion Trees program started out as a competition — a national hunt to discover the largest living specimens of select tree species. 

After a period of evaluating American Forests’ goals and the mission of the Champion Trees Program, the decision was made to move the program to a new home in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture in Knoxville. Here it will begin a new era of science, discovery and education at one of America’s leading research universities.

Today’s National Register of Champion Trees lists 561 species found across the U.S. from the General Sherman Sequoia in California to a 90-foot-tall white oak in Virginia. The tradition of finding and monitoring these large organisms will continue at the School of Natural Resources. As we continue the transition of the Registry to the University of Tennessee, you can still see the current Register.

Explore the history of the Champion Trees Program
Check out our feature story on the century-long mission to discover America’s largest living trees.

Following this transition, we will redirect our time and resources to ramping up our critical efforts on our Tree Equity and Resilient Forests programs. Explore our other monumental initiatives and learn how you can get involved by checking your neighborhood’s Tree Equity Score, planting a tree, or giving: