New Canaan’s Champion Tree Project

New Canaan is home to some incredible trees, and we need your help to find the biggest ones around town. Launched on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, NCLT created the Champion Tree Project as a fun way for residents to learn about the big trees in their neighborhood and to collect data about the size, species, and location of these magnificent specimens.

We invite participants from across New Canaan to submit information about large trees they find. Trees can be located in your backyard, or you can take a trip to a Land Trust property, town park, or other open space and measure trees there. As long as the tree is in New Canaan, it can be submitted for this project.

Entry Rules

  • For each submission, you will be asked to provide:
    • A measurement of the tree’s circumference, in inches
    • The tree’s location
    • The tree species (a guess is fine)
    • A photo of the tree
  • Circumference measurements should be taken 4.5 feet above the ground.
  • Trees must be located in New Canaan, CT.
  • All ages are welcome to participate and submit their trees.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome, especially for different tree species.
  • Consider using #NCChampionTrees and tagging @NC_Land_Trust on social media.



FAQs and Additional Information

What is circumference? How should I measure it?
Circumference is the distance around something. In the case of a tree, it’s the distance around the trunk. Foresters typically take this measurement 4.5 feet off the ground, as it normalizes factors like root flare that might give you an incorrectly large measurement. That’s the same measurement we’ll use for this project.

All you need to measure the circumference of a tree is a large piece of string. Take your string and wrap it around the tree – it might take more than one person if you’ve found a really big tree! Mark where the end of the string comes back around to touch. Then lay the string on the ground in a straight line and use any tape measure, yard stick, or ruler that you have at home to measure the length of the string in inches.

How big can trees get?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as each tree species has different growing patterns and life spans, and other factors like sunlight, soil, and neighboring trees can determine how big they get. Many of New Canaan’s most common trees, like oaks, maples, and pines, can grow to have circumferences of over 100″ and heights over 100′ if left to grow for long enough. To see the biggest trees in Connecticut, check out CT’s Notable Tree website, HERE.

How do trees grow?
It’s hard to believe that a giant tree was once a tiny seed. But given sun, water, and a bit of time, trees can grow quite quickly. Check out THIS publication from the Virginia Department of Forestry for some fun facts about how trees grow, what we can learn from tree rings, and more.