Stockton News

Stockton environmental students find “champion” Post Oak tree

In Fall 2021, Stockton environmental science students discovered an oak tree so large that it may qualify for registry under the National Register of Champion Trees.

Stockton students taking a dendrology course, or a class focused on the scientific study of trees, found the tree in Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest. Matthew Olson, Assistant Professor in Environmental Science, often takes his students to Batsto Village to bring his lectures to life. Students were excited to find that the tree would be reported to the Register, and were shocked to discover how old the tree was. Environmental science student Patrick Sloane stated, “I never realized that this tree could be just as old as some of the artifacts of the village.”

The National Register of Champion Trees tracks the largest and oldest trees found in the United States. The trees on the Register are located and registered by the American public. Trees who are reported to the Register are given a rating based on their trunk Circumference, height, and one-quarter of the tree’s crown spread. The database has been kept by the American Forest organization since the 1940s.

This Post Oak, or Iron Oak, was found to be the largest in New Jersey, confirmed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Finn McGreen, a senior Environmental Science major, discussed their interest in dendrology. He stated that his fascination for South Jersey forestry influenced them to take Professor Olson’s class. After taking part in Olson’s dendrology course, McGreen hopes to continue studying species of trees in the area.

Credit to Susan Allen for information.

Categories: Stockton News

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