The Great American Tree for 2015 is...
That Tree in Platteville, Wisconsin!
About the Winner:
That Tree is a famous Bur Oak located across from 1276 Airport Road in Platteville, WI. 53818. 53' tall, with a canopy 75' wide, this tree is special because it has survived almost 200 years residing in the middle of a Wisconsin cornfield. This tree is featured in the book That Tree by Mark Hirsch, who photographed it every day for a year resulting in a book that chronicles a year in the life of the tree. He has continued to photograph the tree and posts the photos on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/photosofthattree. Featured in news articles and broadcast stories by some of the most noted media outlets in the world, it has also been featured by The Sierra Club and most recently by The Nature Conservancy. 41,000 people following That Tree’s photo and news posts on Facebook.
2nd Place: Darien Oak – Darien, GA
Darien is known for its iconic sprawling oaks. Many are noteworthy, but at 250 years old, this oak tree, with its 100-foot crown spread, has seen many historically significant periods of time, including Scottish settlement of the area, Spanish-Indian wars, and antebellum port days. Darien was built in the early 1800s; later, the Union Army burned it during the Civil War, but the then-100-year-old tree survived. Eventually, the Darien Live Oak shaded sawmill workers taking breaks when Darien became a lumber center and trees were cut inland and rafted down the Altamaha River. For the past 47 years, it has shaded many of the 30,000 who come every year for the Blessing of the Fleet, and its limbs overhang bleachers in front of a concert stage.
Third Place: Angel Oak – Charleston, SC
An icon of the coastal South Carolina Lowcountry, the Angel Oak serves as the focal point and raison d’etre of a small park owned and operated by the City of Charleston. The park and tree are located on Johns Island, one of the sea islands that buffer the mainland from Atlantic storms. Local mythology claims the tree to be over 1400 years old and the “oldest living thing, east of the Rocky Mountains”. A more reasonable guess of the magnificent tree’s age would be between 300 and 500 years old. Regardless of its age, the Angel Oak is one of the most beautiful, inspiring and often-visited trees in the southeastern United States. The tree is 65 feet tall with a diameter of 8.5 feet and has a shade area of approximately17, 000 square feet. The longest limb is 89 feet long and it has a circumference of 11.5 feet. The City of Charleston acquired the Angel Oak and surrounding property in 1991. The Angel Oak is cared for by the City of Charleston Urban Forestry Division and is visited and appreciated by people from around the globe.
The first place winner of the Great American Tree contest will receive $500 and a complimentary scholarship to the Partners in Community Forestry (PCF) Conference in Denver, CO, November 18-19, 2015. Second place is $250 and a PCF scholarship, and third place is a $100 Visa gift card. The PCF Conference is designed to provide inspiration and tools that help strengthen community forests.
Congratulations to our 2015 Great American Tree Competition winner and our second and third place winners, and kudos to all who nominated your own outstanding trees. All thirty-eight trees are truly remarkable and a gem in the crown of their respective states!
The nomination period for next year’s Great American Tree Competition will be announced in April 2016.