2007-08-30 / News

Committee studies champion tree program

Sanne Kure-Jensen, a field examiner for the Helen Walker Raleigh Champion Tree Program, gave the Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee an update on statewide progress to add to the state's Champion Trees at the committee's Aug. 21 meeting.

Richard Champlin, a noted ecologist from Jamestown, was a champion trees pioneer. He measured and recorded thousands of trees throughout Rhode Island looking for champion trees until his passing a couple of years ago.

Through the generosity of many donors and technical support from leaders in the forestry community, the Rhode Island Tree Council recently hired field examiners to update, record and document champion trees. The goal is to find and profile the biggest trees in Rhode Island. This will develop a database of significant trees, stimulate public awareness about our tree resources, and educate citizens about our botanical heritage.

For the initial phase of the project, Kure-Jensen is working in Jamestown with Matt Largess, an arborist and owner of Largess Forestry, and the Jamestown tree committee to identify potential tress. If the tree is on private land, she will contact the owner for permission to come on the property to measure the tree. She explained that, "The sizes of trees have been noted for well over a hundred years in Rhode Island. A method developed by American Forests has a formula based on circumference, height and crown spread. The total gives us a number to declare a champion."

Once trees from around the state are measured, state and local champions will be named. Later, the Rhode Island Tree Council hopes to work with the Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee and the owners of Champion Trees to preserve and protect them. Champion Trees in Jamestown will be added to the list of Significant Trees maintained by the Tree Preservation and Protection Committee.

Jim Rugh, chairman of the committee is asking for the public's help in locating possible champion trees. To nominate a tree, go to the Tree Council's web site www.ritree.org/ChampionTree. html and locate and download the application. A link to the application can also be found on the tree committee's page on the town Web site, www. jamestownri.net.

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