New Canaan’s Champion Tree Project

A Citizen Science Project for New Canaan’s Tree Lovers!

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 in 2020, the New Canaan Land Trust created the Champion Tree Project as a fun way for residents to learn about the big trees in their neighborhood and to learn about some of the fundamentals of forestry and ecological research.

In the spring of 2021 the New Canaan Champion Tree project was relaunched as a community-wide citizen science project, designed to engage residents in the study and appreciation of our suburban forest. By measuring big trees from across our community, we hope to identify the largest trees in town while also learning about their diversity and carbon sequestration. Together, we can work to better understand the importance of our forests, how they are changing, and ways to protect them.

Participating in the New Canaan Champion Tree Project

To join this citizen science project, you’ll first need to understand the objectives and data collection procedures used in the project. Please download a copy of the Instructions manual, to the right, which provides a comprehensive overview of the New Canaan Champion Tree Project. You’ll also need to pick up a “Citizen Science Kit”, which contains a few nifty forestry tools to get you started measuring trees. Send us an email to arrange a pick-up time. You can also check out the series of 7 tutorials which we’ve posted to YouTube, which will walk you through the process for collecting each data point in the project.

From there, you can head out to your yard or any public space and begin measuring trees. Measure one tree, or measure many: its your choice. After you’ve collected your data, return to this website and upload your information using the link on the right. Don’t forget to return you citizen science kit, too.

Lastly, you can check out a live feed of current data from the project. Just click the link for our data dashboard, where you’ll see information about all of the trees that have been measured, including total number of trees, largest trees, amount of carbon stored by those trees, and more. This dashboard updates in real time, so as soon as you upload your data, it will be incorporated into the spreadsheet.

Anyone can participate in the champion tree project, and you can share your excitement by using #NCChampionTrees and tagging @NC_Land_Trust on social media.

More on Champion Trees

A Champion Trees is the largest living individual tree of its species, as measured by circumference, height and crown spread. To determine a tree’s score, you add together the circumference (in inches), height (in feet), and one quarter of the average crown spread (in feet). This seems simple, but detailed methodologies have been created to standardize the way that trees are measured, and to account for things like multiple trunks, leans, abnormal growth, etc. If you are interested in learning more about how we developed the methodology for the New Canaan Champion Tree Project, you can view American Forest’s guide to measuring champion trees, HERE.

To learn more about National Champion trees, and view a list of the current national champions, click HERE.

To learn more about Connecticut Champion Trees, and view a list of the current state champions and other notable trees, click HERE.


Our Forests and Their Champion Trees

The Champion Tree Project was relaunched in May of 2021, at a joint event with the New Canaan Library featuring a lecture from Dr. Andrew Reinmann. To view the presentation, followed by the launch of the project, check out the recording HERE.