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July 21, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
July 21, 2009

This Common Hackberry tree owned by John and Sue White was declared a new champion in Marshall County.
Baldwin, DeKalb and Marion counties can now each claim three "champion" trees, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission whose Champion Tree Program strives to discover, recognize and preserve the largest of each tree species in Alabama.

Champion trees are nominated by the public, but AFC foresters verify the tree's eligibility by measuring the circumference, height and crown spread. To be eligible, trees must be a species recognized as native or naturalized in Alabama. A naturalized tree is an "introduced" species that has established itself in the wild, reproducing naturally and spreading.

Of 64 trees nominated this year, 24 were declared champion trees to bring Alabama's total to 152 champions.

Baldwin County is home to three champions -- an Atlantic White Cedar owned by Jeanette and Forest Kibler, a Pond Cypress owned by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a Fringe-tree owned by the City of Foley. DeSoto State Park is home to DeKalb County's three new champion trees -- a Littlehip Hawthorn, a Virginia pine and a Downy Serviceberry.

James Ross Markham Sr., owns two of Marion County's three trees -- a Northern Red Oak and a Sourwood. The third Marion County champion is a Sweetleaf owned by Marshal and Jimmy Rea and Cherry Gregg.

Owners and the tree's nominator receive certificates from the AFC, and a permanent tree marker is placed near its base.

Other new champion trees and their owners are are: Autauga, Sycamore, David and Dana O'Brian; Choctaw, Red Mulberry, William J. Scruggs, Sr.; Cleburne, Flowering Dogwood, Michael and Holly Tolgo; Dallas, Nutmeg Hickory and Scarlet Oak (co-champion), both owned by James Shand; Hale, Darlington Oak, David and Christie Krystofiak; Jackson, Scarlet Oak (co-champion), Joshua Shelton; Lawrence, Chinkapin Oak, Tennessee Valley Authority; Madison, American Smoketree, Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama, and Black Cherry, Roger Everett and Joyce Rutland; Marshall, Common Hackberry, John and Sue White; Morgan, Red Maple, City of Decatur; Perry, Black Willow, James Essex; and Talladega, American Chestnut, U.S. Forest Service, and Honey Locust, Headwaters Investment Corp.

To complete an on-line nomination form, visit www.Forestry.Alabama.Gov and click on the "Informational Resources" link. Due to limited AFC resources, a nominator is asked to review the measurements of the current champion to get an idea if his prospective tree has a chance of defeating the current champion's score before sending in a nomination.

Nominations may be sent in year round. For a tree to be eligible for Champion Tree designation in 2010, the nomination form must be received by June 1, 2010. To learn more about the Champion Tree Program, visit the AFC's Web site.

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