For nearly 20 years, ReLeaf Michigan, a statewide nonprofit tree organization, has challenged the public to find Michigan's largest living tree through its Big Tree Hunt contest.
The contest takes place every two years.
In addition to providing a way for the public to engage in a tree-focused activity, the Big Tree Hunt was created to take over the efforts of Paul Thompson, a brilliant botanist, who searched for Michigan's big trees and kept records of them since the early 1940s.
Today, ReLeaf Michigan encourages Big Tree Hunting among all age groups to assist natural resource experts in tracking these vital historical living landmarks.
The contest is also a way for a hunter to potentially gain celebrity status in the National Register of Big Trees, which is issued every two years by American Forests.
But first, winners of the Big Tree Hunt are forwarded to the Michigan Botanical Club Champion Tree Coordinator for the state of Michigan for further review and possible inclusion in the State Champion Tree List. If the tree makes it to state champion status, it is submitted for inclusion in the National Big Tree Register. Today Michigan ranks seventh in the country with 27 National Champions.
The Michigan Big Tree Hunt is a great activity for families, groups of friends, fun dates, or solo adventurers. Certificates and Prizes are awarded for:
- Largest Tree of any species submitted by a Big Tree Hunter over 16 years old.
- Largest Tree of any species submitted by 15 years old and under.
- Largest White Pine (Michigan's State Tree).
- Any age Largest Tree of any species for each county.
- Largest Tree (any species) that is larger than the current registered Michigan State Champion.
Deadline for entries is Aug. 1, 2012.
A prize ceremony to honor the winners will be held during September 2012.
The Michigan Big Tree Hunt Contest is sponsored by ReLeaf Michigan, Michigan Botanical Foundation, Michigan Botanical Club, Consumers Energy Foundation, Hanes Fund, Lapham Associates, Arboriculture Society of Michigan, DTE Energy Foundation and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources-Urban and Community Forestry.
For more information about ReLeaf Michigan, contact ReLeaf Michigan at 1-800-642-7353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ReLeaf Michigan, Inc. is a 501 c 3 not for profit organization with a mission to educate the public on the value of trees and the need to properly select, plant and maintain them. ReLeaf Michigan works with community groups on local tree planting projects and by providing informational material and presentations.