Pine in Baldwin wins big tree prize
ANN ARBOR -- ReLeaf Michigan, a non-profit tree planting and education organization, celebrated the conclusion of its 14th biennial Michigan Big Tree Hunt contest Nov. 23 at an awards ceremony at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland.
The contest, which awards participants for identifying the biggest trees in Michigan, began in spring 2018 and ended earlier this fall.
More than 700 entries were sent in from people all across the state, including 80 of Michigan's 83 counties, according to a press release issued by the organization.
The winning entry for each county was verified on-site by professional arborists, foresters from tree services, consulting firms and government agencies throughout the state.
Among the winners was a pine, with a circumference of 115 inches, discovered in Baldwin by Gary Boonstra.
The largest trees in the state were found in all sorts of places, including backyards, local parks, cemeteries and hiking trails. Due to many trees being on private property, the specific location of every winning tree is not made public.
Saturday's closing ceremony was attended by nearly 100 people, who drove from all over the state to share in their appreciation of Michigan's trees.
Certificates and prizes were awarded for the largest tree submitted from each county, for the overall largest tree in different age groups, and for new potential state champion trees.
The largest white pine -- Michigan's state tree -- was submitted by Heather Sewell. It measured 204 inches around and is located in Houghton County's Askel.
The largest tree from a "Big Tree Hunter" 15 or younger was submitted by Stephanie and Patrick Bushey, who submitted a cottonwood found in Saline, measuring 312 inches around.
ReLeaf Michigan began the Michigan Big Tree Hunt in 1993 to celebrate our state's beauty and create a fun way to gather information about Michigan's biggest trees.