July 21, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Alabama Forestry Commission Announces New Champion Trees for 2009

 Interest in Alabama’s Champion Tree program remains strong as evidenced by the fact that 64 nominations from all regions of the state were submitted in 2009. The final tabulations have been completed, and 24 of the 64 trees nominated for Champion Tree designation have been declared new champions! 
     Of these 24 new champion trees, 9 trees de-throned the 2008 champions, while 15 trees filled vacancies for species that did not have a current champion. With the addition of these 15, Alabama now has a total of 152 champions.
     A list of the 24 new Champion Trees for 2009 is as follows:

Tree Species

American Smoketree




Brian Bradley


Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama

Cedar, Atlantic White


Forest Kibler

Jeanette & Forest Kibler

Cherry, Black


Doug Chapman

Roger Everett & Joyce Rutland

Chestnut, American


Arthur Hitt & Scott Stevens

US Forest Service

Cypress, Pond


Dr. Thomas H. Wilson

AL Dept of Conservation

Dogwood, Flowering


Glenn Berry

Michael & Holly Tolgo



Gena Todia

City of Foley

Hackberry, Common


Sue White

John & Sue White

Hawthorn, Littlehip


Jason Shelton

DeSoto State Park

Hickory, Nutmeg


Dr. Thomas H. Wilson

James Shand

Locust, Honey


John Goff & Travis Ford

Headwaters Investments Corporation

Maple, Red


Paul Floyd

City of Decatur

Mulberry, Red


Lorenzo Johnson

William J. Scruggs, Sr.

Oak, Chinkapin


Jack Paul

Tennessee Valley Authority

Oak, Darlington


Tim Washburne

David & Christie Krystofiak

Oak, Northern Red


Tony Avery

James Ross Markham, Sr.

Oak, Scarlet


Jason Shelton

Joshua K. Shelton

Oak, Scarlet (co-champ)


Dr. Thomas H. Wilson

James Shand

Pine, Virginia


Jason Shelton

DeSoto State Park

Serviceberry, Downy


Jason Shelton

DeSoto State Park



Josh Angel & Tony Avery

James Ross Markham, Sr.



Tony Avery

Marshal Rea, Jimmy Rea, & Cherry Gregg



Dana O’Brian

David & Dana O’Brian

Willow, Black


Dr. Thomas H. Wilson

James Essex 

Congratulations to all of the nominators and owners of the new champions!

     For those unfamiliar with Champion Tree, the purpose of the program is to discover, recognize, and preserve the largest of each tree 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.
     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, plus one point for each foot of height, plus one point for each four feet of the average crown spread.
     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.
     Once a new champion is identified, both its owner and nominator receive certificates. The nominator is presented with a permanent tree marker by AFC county personnel that is placed in proximity to the base of the tree.
     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: 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. After all, there are millions of “big” trees in Alabama, but only one CHAMPION for each species. 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 website.

  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here