Story courtesy of Morgan Shea, Staff Writer of The Pine Log
SFA is known for its beautiful campus, filled with many trees, trails and gardens. This week at SFA, the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture urges anyone on campus or in the Nacogdoches community to participate in the NacogdoTREES Competition.
Through the NacogdoTREES Competition, anyone with a love for trees or a desire to learn more about them is encouraged to participate and explore the Nacogdoches area for trees that fit the following categories: largest circumference, largest crown, tallest tree, best shade tree and best overall tree.
The first three categories are based on measurements, while the last two are judged more subjectively. “Best Shade Tree” and ”Best Overall Tree” might be judged on the story behind the tree, the location of the tree or the tree’s uniqueness. An online list of the largest trees in Texas called “The Texas Big Tree Registry” shows the trees’ measurements and nominator, so anyone can view the specific trees that have won in the past.
“There are also a lot of species with no current champion, so we thought it would be cool to be able to fill those in,” said Dr. Shelby Gull Laird, assistant professor of communications of natural resource issues.
For the tree to qualify, it must be located on campus or within a park or area managed by the City of Nacogdoches Parks and Recreation.
There are plenty of trails and gardens one could go to explore and find trees on campus, and anyone is welcome to visit them anytime, regardless of competition participation. SFA has its own recreational trails on campus, as well as four gardens filled with plants and flowers. These aspects provide students and faculty members with great places to get outdoors and countless options for discovering trees.
“SFA is really lucky to have the gardens and the nice trails. Those are unique features of the campus that make it possible to do something like this,” Laird said.
While trees are necessary to our environment, trees can also provide physical and mental benefits. According toforestry.sfasu.edu/nacogdotrees, a goal of the NacogdoTREES Competition is to get people to understand the importance of trees in the community and to bring awareness to the benefits of trees and spending time outdoors. Because this competition requires participants to explore areas in Nacogdoches, people will also get a chance to learn more about the community beyond campus.
“We wanted to give the community an opportunity to come visit the parks and trees in our cemeteries. We have some really gorgeous old magnolias. There are a lot of opportunities to get out there and see the trees,” said Jessica Ward, Nacogdoches Parks and Recreation employee.
Anyone interested in channeling his or her inner forester should participate, regardless of knowledge regarding trees and taking measurements.
“If they feel like they can’t do any of the measurements, they can always guess, but we do have videos that a few of our forestry folks made that show you how to do simple measurements that don’t require a lot of technical tools,” Laird said. “No one should [forego submitting] something because they don’t know how to take measurements, because they will be checked.”
The competition closes at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. There will be an award ceremony for the winners of the competition, and they will have their picture taken with the winning trees.
More details on the competition, including videos on how to take measurements, are available at forestry.sfasu.edu/nacogdotrees.