Go find those big trees

Angie Wotton, Special to the Houlton Pioneer Times, Special to The County
6 years ago

A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a guy wondering if the “Big Tree” contest was still on. When I told him yes he replied, “Great, because I’ve got a monster beech I want to nominate.” That made me wonder: How many other people are out there who may know of a “monster” maple or pine or birch or cedar or spruce or any other native tree that fits the big tree description?

The contest began last year with the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District and the Maine Forest Service. Nominations of big trees came in from a small but enthusiastic group of people. Continuing the contest this year, we’d like to see more people involved and more trees nominated. The largest tree by species in Southern Aroostook will be acknowledged through the District. as will any potential contenders against current Maine champions.

As District Forester Dan Jacobs says, “It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the woods with your family.” It’s also a good way to appreciate the value of our trees and forests. That big tree you’ve noticed on your walks or in your woodlot or even the one your kids grew up swinging from in your backyard? Nominate it. It is also a fun way for the SASWCD and MFS to gather a list of native trees in our area and get an idea of how big some of those old stately trees are.

The Big Tree contest is simple: it’s open to anyone in Southern Aroostook who believes they have, or know of, a tree large enough that may be in the running for such a distinction. Any type of native tree can be nominated. Find the list of native trees and tree nomination forms on the SASWCD website at www.saswcd.org, or contact the office at 254-4126 or angela.wotton@me.nacdnet.net for a form to be mailed.

When a nomination form has been submitted, District Forester Jacobs will follow up to measure the tree, recording its dimensions based on a formula that measures the tree’s height, circumference and diameter.

There’s no time to begin like the present, especially since February and March are the best months of winter. The days are longer, the sun is stronger, and there is plenty snow. Basically, it’s just a nice time of the winter to be outside. Now grab those snowshoes and, ready, set, go!

To check out some of the Big Tree winners on the State of Maine’s register, visit the Project Canopy page at the Maine Forest Service website. 

Angie Wotton loves her work as district manager for the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District. She also raises pastured pork and vegetables with her husband on their small West Berry Farm in Hammond. She can be reached 532-­9407 or via email at angela.wotton@me.nacdnet.net.