Great American Tree Competition

This year’s Great American Tree competition had some absolutely beautiful nominations, many of which exemplify this year's theme of unique fall color. Our top five trees with the most member votes were Bessemer City’s Cedar Tree, Largest Tree in Arkansas, White Oak of Wisconsin, Rancho Cucamonga’s Live Oak, and Ginkgo of Agnes Scott College.

Click a photo below to learn more about each unique entry.

White Oak of Wisconsin

“What drew me to her was not the tree itself, but the split of the land, dark versus golden, knowing that soon the land would be tilled.”
 
– Nancy Barthuly, inspired by Mark Hirsch of "That Tree"
 
This humble white oak stands tall and proud in a Pleasant Prairie farm field - just outside of Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The crops on either side of her alternate annually – soybean versus field corn.  Her location marks the property line.  As the landscape in the area swiftly changes, development encroaching directly across the street from her, she continues to patiently watch over the fields just as she has for years.   Construction and change occur all around, both industrial and residential, her neighbor trees being felled to accommodate the “progress.”  Three to four working farms remain all in a row; one of them housing dairy cows.  In her world - her field - nothing has changed.
 
It is a sad thing to see our history - our roots - slowly disappearing, and I so enjoy visiting now and then, especially on a calm summer’s night when the lightning bugs signal and bats appear to glide and dart for mosquitoes.  The sunsets she bears witness to are spectacular.  To her, it is just another day, another crop, another season.  
 
This tree is special because she represents our midwest farming history.  She has interested and educated me about tree species, nature, farming and wildlife; she has had her likeness hung in a gallery, and she has inspired others...all without doing a thing except ‘being’.   
 
Species:  White Oak
Size:  Approximately 12' in circumference
Height:  Approximately 72' high
 
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Comments

  • I have seen many trees in farm fields, but when I read the narrative about this tree it puts a beautiful picture in my mind and heart. Seeing it change through the seasons adds to that. Not only is it a beautiful tree, the story brings it to life and will continue to do that after it is gone.
  • "That farm tree" - I visited after my cancer treatment was complete. The treatment was an ordeal for my wife and I, and a meaningful completion to our journey.
  • Awesome tree, and it has become so meaningful to our family & circle of friends. A trip to this tree is an experience. Yesterday we went for the first snow; saw two doves fly out and also a Northern Harrier. We continue to learn about nature from this special tree.
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2016's Winner

The Largest Tree in Arkansas, a champion bald cypress, was voted The 2016 Great American Tree.