Several local trees selected as "Champion Trees" for 2010

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Forestry Commission has just announced the 2010 winners for Alabama's Champion Tree program as identified and nominated by Alabama residents.

According to Brian Hendricks, Alabama's Champion Tree program coordinator, "Ten of these new champions outscored the 2009 champions, while three trees filled vacancies for species that did not have a current champion.

Of the 13 new champion trees, two are co-champions which means their total scores are within 5 points of each other. In addition to these, another 17 trees were nominated but failed to defeat the current champions. We offer our congratulations to all of the nominators and owners of the new champions!"

Below is a list of the 13 new champion trees for 2010:


American Smoketree


Melody Stewart

Carol Rampey                             

Cottonwood, Swamp


Joseph Donnelly

Vermelle McDill

Cypress, Pond


Fred Nation

Historic Blakeley State Park



Dexter Duren

Robert I. Jones

Magnolia, Sweetbay


Tad M. Zebryk

Historic Blakeley State Park

Maple, Florida


Wayne Webb

Resource Management Service, LLC

Oak, Laurel


Kim Mayton

Mayton-Wilson Partnership

Oak, Post


Gerry Lash

Peggy Phelps

Oak, Post


Roger Vines

James and Rose Clement

Pine, Slash


Chan West

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Plum, Flatwoods


Harry Larsen & Fred Nation

Baldwin County



Russell Stringer

Thomas Upchurch



Jason Shelton

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

For those unfamiliar with Champion Tree, the purpose of the program is to discover, recognize, and preserve the largest tree of each species in Alabama.

Anyone can nominate a tree for Champion Tree designation by completing an on-line nomination form; however, an Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) forester is responsible for collecting the tree's measurements. Once a new champion is identified, both its owner and nominator receive a certificate. The nominator is presented with a permanent tree marker by AFC county personnel, placed in proximity to the base of the tree.

For a tree to be eligible for the Champion Tree program, it must be a species that is 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. When determining a champion, three of the tree's components are taken into consideration: circumference, height, and crown spread. The formula used to determine the size of a tree is as follows: one point for each inch of circumference, one point for each foot of height, plus one point for each four feet of the average crown spread.

Due to limited AFC resources, a nominator is encouraged 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. After all, there are millions of "big" trees in Alabama, but to be a CHAMPION a tree must be the absolute "biggest."

If you know of a tree that you think might be the largest of its species in the state, you are encouraged to send in a nomination. To complete a form on-line, visit the AFC website at: and click on the "Informational Resources" link. Nominations may be sent in year round. For a tree to be eligible for Champion Tree designation in 2011, the nomination form must be received by the program coordinator no later than June 1, 2011. To learn more about the Champion Tree Program, visit the AFC's website.