Join the 'Big Tree Hunt' May 25

May 19, 2014
Courtesy of: Nancy Caudle-Johnson Norumbega's Camperdown elm (ulmus Camperdownnii) was nominated to Camden's Heritage Tree Register on Arbor Day, May 26, 2013.

Camden — Camden's annual 'Arbor DAy program will begin at Camden Library Amphitheater on Atlantic Avenue at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 25, rain or shine. Following a brief ceremony and reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation by select board member Don White, arborist and "big tree hunter" Douglas N. Johnson will lead a hunt to locate, identify and measure big trees.

He will demonstrate the method used for nominating champions to the National Register of Big Trees and state registers. The Camden Conservation Commission has received a Project Canopy grant to establish a Camden Heritage Tree Register. The first tree on the register, the large Camperdown elm at Norumbega Inn, was nominated on Arbor Day last year.

Camden's register is comprehensive, including trees of significance due to their size, historical importance, species rarity and placement in special landscapes, as well as significant treescapes such as the Amphitheater and Harbor Park and a category of "favorite trees." Nominators are encouraged to include a story a history about their tree. Anyone may make a nomination so long as the tree or treescape is within the town of Camden. An arborist must verify each nomination, including measurements and species. Camden Heritage Tree REgister nomination forms will be available on Sunday.

Johnson, chairman of Camden Conservation Commission, and Nancy Caudle-Johnson, Camden's Arbor Day and Tree City USA coordinator, have nominated a number of state champion trees to Maine's Big Tree Register during the past two decades, including the state champion Washington hawthorn in Lincolnville nominated on Earth Day 1996, an English elm in Wiscassett, a sycamore maple at Fort Pemaquid, a cucumber magnolia in Brunswick, a serviceberry in Camden, a striped maple at Merryspring Nature Park and a ginko in Rockland. Some of these remain as state champions, while others have died or collapsed, or been displaced by newly discovered larger trees.

For the 19th consecutive year, Camden has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. During Arbor Week, the Tree City USA flag will fly over Camden's town office. The Camden Conservation Commission serves as Camden's Tree Board, a requirement to be a Tree City USA. The year 2014 marks Camden's 20th year as a Tree City USA.

Maine's official Arbor Week, the third full week in May, coincides with the state's tree planting season. The Arbor Day program is organized by Nancy Caudle-Johnson and the Camden Conservation Commission. For more information, call 236-6855.

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