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New Potential National Champion Tree Discovered In Maryland
WEST FRIENDSHIP, MD — Volunteers recently discovered a bigleaf magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla) in Howard County. Currently, the largest of its species in the state, it has been certified as a Maryland State Champion Tree.
“We are thankful for the volunteers that help to keep Maryland’s strong forestry tradition alive,” said Steve Koehn, Maryland Forest Service Director.
The bigleaf magnolia measured 55’ tall and 12’1” in circumference with a 53.5’ average crown spread, earning a cumulative total of 213 Total Points. The current bigleaf magnolia National Champion is located at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.
“We have every expectation that ‘our’ tree will become the new National Champion.” said John Bennett, manager of the Maryland Big Tree Program. ”The beauty of this robust tree is something to be recognized and it is through volunteer dedication that that can happen.” added Bennett.
The measurements have been submitted to American Forests, however, the title will not be confirmed or denied until the biannual National Register of Big Trees is prepared.
American Forests is the nation’s oldest nonprofit citizens’ conservation organization and has documented the largest known specimens of every native and naturalized tree in the United States since 1940.
An official “Big Tree” is based on a point system. To nominate a tree for Big Tree status, three measurements are needed: the trunk circumference (in inches), the vertical tree height (to the nearest foot) and the average crown spread (to the nearest foot). The trunk circumference, height and ¼ average Crown Spread is added to calculate the total points. A member of the Maryland Big Tree Program will need to visit the site and verify the three measurements. They will also verify the tree species, tree owner’s information, take photos, and make note of the tree’s health and location.
Fred W. Besley, Maryland’s first State Forester, can also be credited as the father of the National Big Tree Champion Contest. Besley, Maryland’s longest-serving State Forester, held the position for 36 years, from 1906 to 1942. Having noticed that the forests of Maryland were rich in different kinds of trees, he was inspired to organize a Big Tree program in which photographs and collected measurements of the distinguished trees of Maryland would be recorded.
September 21, 2007
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov