The Living on Earth Almanac
Air Date: Week of June 23, 2000
This week, facts about The National Register of Big Trees.
CURWOOD: The National Register of Big Trees is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. Hardwood scientist Joseph Stearns created the list when he began worrying that too many big trees were being cut to supply the Second World War effort. So, the folks at American Forest started keeping track. The Registry is updated every two years, using a system of crown, height, and girth measurements to track the largest trees. Among the biggest: the Osage orange tree next to Patrick Henry's home in Red Hill, Virginia. Legend says this tree grew from a seed found by Lewis & Clark on their famous westward expedition. Also on the list: a swamp chestnut oak in Marshall, Tennessee, with a crown equal to 36 people lying end to end. And, of course, in Sequoia National Park, California, there's a 275-foot Giant Sequoia named General Sherman. The oldest? A western juniper in California's Stanislaus National Forest that's 4,000 years old. Now, what trees will be on the list in the year 2002? Maybe yours! Of the 826 species eligible for the Big Tree register, 93 still don't have a reigning champion. So, get out that tape measure. That big tree in your backyard or along the fence line of your property could be one of the oldest and largest of its kind. And for this week, that's the Living On Earth Almanac.
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