The Academy Awards—Trees in Film

Hollywood is only a few weeks away from celebrating one of the largest red carpet events of the year—the Academy Awards. The annual award ceremony will honor the achievements of actors, directors, and many others involved in creating motion pictures. With the faces of Hollywood being recognized for some of their best work, we deemed it appropriate to shine light on the supporting roles trees have played in film. Although trees may not have played a prominent role in any of the 2014 Oscar nominated films, they have appeared in scenes from a number of renowned movies. The following list notes five Oscar-nominated movies that made these trees memorable.

The Wizard of Oz

trees-wizardofoz-590x350[1]Nominated for six Academy Awards, the Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy, a Kansas girl who searches her way back home after her house is uprooted by a tornado. The most notable characters Dorothy encounters on her journey are a Scarecrow, Tin Man, and a Lion. In following the yellow brick road with her new-found friends, Dorothy comes across an apple tree from which she tries to pick an apple. The tree grabs the apple and slaps her hand. “How would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?” asks the apple tree.  Needless to say, Dorothy didn’t eat any apples off of that apple tree.

Gone with the Wind

This American classic— adapted from ADG GWTW 087-1[1]Margaret Mitchell’s novel—received 10 Oscars out of its 13 nominations. The film features the Wilkes’ family Twelve Oaks plantation situated in Georgia. The family’s white mansion is surrounded by twelve great oak trees in a near perfect circle. Historians say the fictional estate was inspired by the real-life Boone Hall plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. Boone Hall is one of the nation’s oldest working plantations and boasts the “Avenue of Oaks,” a mile long road lined with 350 year old Oak trees.

Hook

hookNominated for five Academy Awards, Hook is the continuation of an adult Peter Pan. The Hangman tree is an old tree with several hidden entrances that the Lost Boys used as a hideout. The name comes from its rope-like limbs that resemble nooses when hung low.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

whomping_willow_1[1]The first installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was nominated for three Oscars. The Whomping Willow tree in the film has a persona of its own. Situated on Hogwarts Grounds, it’s known for its violent behavior and attacks anyone who comes close to its branches. The tree was planted to guard the entrance of a secret tunnel. We get our initial introduction of the Whomping Willow’s temper when Harry and Ron accidentally crash their flying car into the tree, and the tree defends itself, critically damaging the car. In the Harry Potter sequel the Whomping Willow is shown destroying Harry’s broom when it falls into the tree’s branches.

Shawshank Redemption

shawshank-tree[1]Nominated for seven Oscars, this prison drama tells the story of two inmates who become friends while serving life sentences. Andy, who proclaimed his innocence since before his conviction, eventually escapes Shawshank State Prison, but before he flees he gives his new-found friend Red instructions to visit a specific hayfield in a nearby town, should Red ever be freed. 40 years later, Red is let out on parole and visits the hayfield to retrieve the package from Andy. The package is hidden in a rock wall beneath an Oak tree. The Oak tree portrayed at the end of the movie is located in Mansfield, Ohio and fans journey from all parts of the world to see it.

What movies can you think of with memorable appearances by trees?

All Eyes soon to be on Groundhog Celebrity Punxsutawney Phil, near forest treasure Cook Forest State Park

February 2 marks Groundhog Day, a Pennsylvania tradition to predict the arrival of spring. According to folklore, if the groundhog spots his shadow after coming out of winter hibernation, then winter will go on for another six weeks. If he comes out of his hole and doesn’t spot it, then it’s a sign that spring is on the horizon. The town of Punxsutawney, PA—where Groundhog Day originated—celebrates the tradition with an annual festival, awaiting the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil, the towns’ groundhog.

hillside_parkinfo[1]Pennsylvania boasts more than just Groundhog Day; it is also home to Cook Forest State Park—one of America’s top 50 state parks according to National Geographic Traveler. More than 8,500 acres of its breathtaking terrain stretch across northwestern Pennsylvania, sheltering some of America’s finest White Pine and Eastern Hemlock timber strands. Cook Forest State Park is also the first Pennsylvania State Park to be recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Bordered by the Clarion River, Cook Forest State Park encompasses a mixture of natural landscapes including rivers, rolling hills, and mountains.

Nine old growth forest areas are situated within Cook Forest State Park. The most popular are Swamp, Seneca, Cathedral, and Cook Trails. The old growth forests are remnants of ancient trees that appeared after a drought and fire back in 1644. Cook Forest State Park has some of the oldest White Pine and Eastern Hemlock tree, dating back 370 years.dcnr_008364[1]

The Forest Cathedral Natural Area is one of the largest old growth forests of White Pine and Eastern Hemlock trees in Pennsylvania. Several of the pines exceed three feet in diameter and rise 200 feet. Trees that grand are nicknamed “William Penn Trees” because they’re more likely to be 300 or more years old, and date back to the era of William Penn, the first governor of “Penn’s Woods.” The name Pennsylvania, which translates roughly as “Penn’s Woods,” was created by combining the Penn surname (in honor of William’s father, Admiral Sir William Penn) with the Latin word sylvania, meaning “forest land.”  The Forest Cathedral has been designated for protection as a state park natural area.

Some other ancient tree species hidden in the forest include strands of Red and White Oaks, Red Maple, and Black Cherry trees.

Icreek-620x300[1]n addition to the remarkable trees Cook Forest State Park boasts, the forest garners another treasure. Nestled within the Seneca old growth forest area are the remains of a natural mineral spring that produced waters with white sulfur and iron. The spring was believed to possess healing powers and was so popular in the 1900s that a boardwalk encased by gaslights was lit 24 hours a day so visitors could bathe and drink from the spring.

Cook Forest State Park is one marvel worth visiting. If you should ever find yourself in northwestern Pennsylvania, go explore the towering trees that adorn the area and allow yourself to be mesmerized by the daunting beauty of this National Natural Landmark.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

ScotchPine[1]Number One: Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris)

The number one tree on The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees series is the Scots Pine, which is the top selling tree in the country. Scots Pines aren’t actually native to the United States; they were introduced through European settlers and have since been cultivated, especially in the eastern US. Their bright green color, excellent survival rate, and great needle retention make them the most popular Christmas tree on our countdown.  scots-pine1[1]

Scots Pines (also known as Scotch Pine) are a hardy species adaptable to a wide variety of soils. They resist drying, and even when they do dry they refuse to drop their needles. In fact, when kept in water these pines will stay fresh for 3-4 weeks.  Scots Pines grow to more than 60 ft high and 40 ft wide. They are however a slow growing tree, which means it takes 6-8 years to produce a 7 to 8 ft Christmas tree. They naturally grow in an oval shape and are annually sheared to form the Christmas tree figure.

greenscottishfir[1]Scots Pines have high economic value in Europe and throughout Asia because they produce pulpwood —timber used specifically for paper production —poles, and sawlogs used in manufacturing plywood. They’re also popular in reclamation sites because of their easy replanting capabilities, with more than 35 seed varieties commercially recognized.

Interested in buying a Scots Pine? Visit the Arbor Day tree nursery. To learn more about the Scots Pine or any other tree visit our What Tree is That tool.

Take a look at some of the nation’s tallest Christmas trees. Where does your tree rank?

 large

 Missed Christmas tree number two on our countdown? See it here.

 

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Holiday_Plantation_Douglas_Fir_pseudotsuga_menziesii[1]Number Two: The Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii)

Number two on our Christmas tree countdown is the Douglasfir. Discovered in 1826 by botanist-explorer David Douglas, Douglasfirs have remained important in American history.  Their tall structure, soft needles, and sweet aroma make them one of the most popular Christmas tree choices, accounting for nearly half of all Christmas trees grown in the United States.

Did you know that Douglasfirs were also a candidate for America’s National Tree in 2001? (Check out the other candidates here.) Although they didn’t receive the title they still demonstrate how connected they are with American history.  They helped settle the West by providing railroad ties and telephone & telegraph poles. They’re the most common tree in Oregon; eight of every ten conifers west of the Cascades are Douglasfirs. In 1936, the Oregon Legislature recognized the Douglasfir as the official state tree.

These trees are quite the warriors; they’re deer-resistant and seldom severely damaged. There are two geographical varieties of Douglasfir (which aren’t real Fir trees): Coast Douglasfir, native to the Pacific coast through Nevada, and Rocky Mountain Douglasfir, native to the inland mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. The Coastal variety is faster growing, long-lived and can grow to be more than 300 ft tall. They’re versatile, growing in a variety of environments from extremely dry, low elevation sites to moist sites.  darvel-at-base-of-doerner-fir-low-resjpg-e3e4f9184ce10a50_large[1]

The national champion Douglasfir tree grows in Coos County, Oregon. It measures 329 ft tall with a crown spread of 60 ft, and diameter of 11 ½ ft ­­­­– that’s massive. According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, the largest known Douglasfir is in British Columbia on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is 242 ft tall and 13.9 ft in diameter and the only known tree on earth—other than the Giant Sequoia and Coast Redwood— that has a diameter of 7 ft at 144 ft from the ground. What a beauty!

Douglasfirs are also the country’s top lumber source. Their wood is used widely in construction, laminated timbers, interior trim, boxes, ladders and flooring.

The White House features an 18 ½ ft Douglasfir Christmas tree in the Blue Room. Michelle Obama Hosts Christmas Volunteers At White HouseThe National Christmas Tree Association donates a tree for display in the Blue Room every year. Tradition calls for the tree to be decorated in honor of military families.

To learn more about the Douglasfir or any other tree visit our What Tree is That tool.

Missed Christmas tree number three on our countdown? See it here.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Three: The Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

5338737_orig[1]Next on our Christmas tree countdown is the Balsam Fir. Balsam Firs (not to be confused with the Fraser Fir for their similar characteristics) are adapted to a wide variety of environments from swamps to high rocky mountain terrain, but thrive best in the cold climates of the northern United States and Canada. Its symmetrical spire-like crown, dense foliage and spicy fragrance make it another favorite among the most popular Christmas trees.

Young Balsam Firs have sticky, liquid resin blisters on the side of their bark. Fabies-balsamea-ba-mlovit[1]un facts — the benefits of the resin in these blisters are numerous. To start, it had been sold in stores as a confection prior to the advent of chewing gum, and resinous fir knots were once used as torches. The resin also features medicinal properties; during the Civil War the resin was used as a balm and applied to combat injuries.

Today, the resin is most commonly used as optical mounting cement for lenses and microscope slides, and can also be found in paints and polishes; talk about the tree that keeps on giving! If you’re ever lost in the wild and surrounded by Balsam Firs be sure to stay near them, they’ll probably be your best survival aid.

Balsam Firs grow anywhere from 45-75 ft in height at a rate of 12” or less a year. Their slender forms fit great in tight spaces. It takes about 9-10 years to grow a 6-7 ft Balsam Fir Christmas tree.

Christmas_Tree_2011_33_small[1]The Wisconsin State Capitol building boasts a 30 ft Balsam Fir Christmas tree in the center of its rotunda this year.

Missed Christmas tree number four on our countdown? Catch up on it here.

To learn more about the Balsam Fir or any other tree check out our What Tree is That online tool.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Four: The Fraser Fir (Abies Fraseri)

FraserFir1[1]Our next tree on our Christmas tree countdown is the Fraser Fir, named after the Scot botanist (John Fraser) who explored the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the late-18th century, where these trees are naturally found. Fraser Fir’s have a unique history, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension office, they’re part of a remnant forest from the last ice age. They only grow naturally at elevations of more than 4,500 feet.

The needles on Fraser Firs are dark green on top, and silver underneath, with branches that turn slightly upward. frasier_fir_tree_detail[1]Their uniform pyramid shape makes them an obvious choice as a Christmas tree. In addition to their pine scent aroma, Fraser Fir’s also have great needle retention after being cut, making them practical for families with children.

Speaking of children, a few years back a group of eighth grade students at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine, NC started a petition requesting the Fraser Fir become North Carolina’s official Christmas tree. These bright, young minds learned that Fraser Firs were a significant part of the state’s economy. How significant? Well, 50 million Fraser Firs are grown on approximately 25,000 acres in North Carolina (that’s 90% of all of all the Christmas trees grown in the state). According to the NC Dept of Agriculture, in 2009 Christmas trees brought an estimated $100 million economic impact to the state.

As it turned out, in 2005 the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation making the Fraser Fir the official Christmas tree of North Carolina, how cool is that!

If you want to experience North Carolina’s natural treasure pay a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC during the holiday season. fraser firThe Biltmore House is known for being one of the largest holiday displays in the Southeast, and this year they have a 34 foot tall Fraser Fir illuminating their Banquet Hall.

To learn more about the Fraser Fir or any other tree check out our What Tree is That online tool.

 

Missed Christmas tree number five on our countdown? Catch up on it here.

The Five Most Popular Christmas Trees

Number Five: The Noble Fir (Abies Procera Rehd)

Large-Noble-Fir-300x296[1]Each holiday season consumers hunt for just the right Christmas tree. Every year, 20-35 million living Christmas trees are sold in the US (National Christmas Tree Association). The high demand for Christmas trees has even lead to the creation of Christmas Tree Farms (15,000 in fact), whole farms devoted to growing trees used specifically for Christmas. It can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of 6-7 feet. So the next time you’re decorating your tree, be sure to appreciate every needle it has to offer. We’ll dedicate the next few posts to the five most popular Christmas trees, starting with number five: the Noble Fir.

2This rich blue-green tree has short needles that turn upward, exposing its branches. As a result, the stiff branches make it a fine tree for heavy ornaments. Noble Firs come in full and bushy to open layered varieties and can grow to more than 200 feet in height. Because they love moist soil, they’re most commonly found in the Cascade Range and the Coast Ranges of the Pacific Northwest of Washington and Oregon, and southwestern Canada.

traditional-holiday-decorations[1]Noble Firs are also used to make wreaths, door swags, and garland, with a stimulating pine scent that will fill your entryway. When these trees aren’t used for Christmas they make an excellent windbreak or privacy fence.

Looking for a tree seller in your area? Check out The National Christmas Tree Association‘s tree locator tool for a Christmas tree farm in your area. http://www.realchristmastrees.org/dnn/AllAboutTrees/TreeLocator.aspx

Miss Earth 2013 Candidates Fight Climate Change in Tree Planting

Miss Earth is one of the three largest beauty pageants in the world (along with Miss Universe and Miss World), and the only pageant that promotes environmental consciousness. Crowned titleholders dedicate their year to promote specific projects, often addressing humanitarian and environmental causes.

The annual competition, organized by Carousel Productions in Manila, Philippines will showcase on December 7 this year. ms earth 2One of the advocacies of Miss Earth is to generate millions of trees for future generations to come. This year the pageant is featuring the Philippines in its Eco-Tourism Campaign. Carousel Productions hopes to use tourism as a means of alleviating poverty in the region. With the tragic typhoon that dictated the island last month, the country could really use some positive light in cherishing the natural gems the land has to offer.

resortSo Miss Earth 2013 candidates are doing just that. The latest tree planting took place at Campuestohan Highland Resort in Bacolod last week where 15 contestants planted trees in a designated area on the resort. The area will be called “Miss Earth Orchard.”

“The simple act of planting trees helps fight deforestation and makes the air we breathe fresh,” said Miss Earth Philippines Angelee De Los Reyes.

Another group of contestants visited Pontefino Hotel and Residences in Batangas City and planted Fire trees along the highway. The trees will serve as an attraction to tourists in the coming years during their flowering season, similar to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan.ms earth

Tree planting ceremonies are a popular trend among Miss Earth contestants. Last year’s crown holder, Miss Earth Czech Republic Tereza Fajksova led a tree planting activity at the Sumava National Park in Czech Republic, an area that was badly damaged by bark beetles. The Sumava Range is covered by the most extensive forest in Central Europe.

We love the great work these young ladies are doing to sustain a greener planet.

Wood Fossils Show Ancient Antarctica was home to Exotic Forests

Trees in Antarctica? The idea of forests at the South Pole may be somewhat of an unusual idea to the cold climates Antarctica boasts; but new research suggests that tropical trees once grew in the region. An article published by the Huffington Post earlier this month explained how the recent discovery of wood fossils suggests that Antarctica was once home to carpeted forests.

Let’s rewind 250 million years to the Permian and early Triassic period. The world was alot warmer than it is today, so the idea may not be that foreign. The question, said Patricia Ryberg, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, is how plants coped with photosynthesizing constantly for part of the year and then not at all when the winter sun set. Since Antarctica was still at high latitude, the region experienced round-the-clock darkness in the winter and 24/7 light in the summer.

A fossilized tree trunk protrudes through ice near Antarctica’s Mount Achernar. | Patricia Ryberg

Ryberg and her colleagues gathered samples of leaf impressions and discovered mats of leaves, implying signs of a deciduous forest. What’s interesting about that finding is that samples of fossil wood were also taken and tree rings were examined to reveal that the trees looked evergreen.   “Now we have leaves that suggest a deciduous habit and fossil wood that is suggesting an evergreen habit, so we have a bit of a contradiction going on,” Ryberg said.

Follow-up studies analyzing carbon molecules in the fossil wood also gives both deciduous and evergreen answers, Ryberg said. The implication is that ancient Antarctic forests may have been a mix of deciduous and evergreen.

Tropical trees growing in the Arctic? Not so unusual after all.

Member Note of Gratitude, the Majestic Crapemyrtle

image 1 CMGreat story from one of our members who joined several years ago and out of the blue, followed up with a generous donation.

“We write to you in appreciation and in awe of what our contribution several years ago has accomplished, and what we hope will inspire others to follow suit and contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation. Here is our endowment of gratitude for the beauty that has resulted from that small investment.image 2 CM

About 6-8 years ago we saw an advertisement to contribute $10 to the Arbor Day Foundation and receive several trees as a gift. We’re concerned about the deforestation of our planet, so we sent a contribution not expecting much; In exchange we received five young trees. With good humor we planted them. They grew and grew, and grew; four years later, the results are majestic: five magnificent 12-foot tall crapemyrtles now grace our steep mountainside yard.

Thank you so much for all you’re doing for our planet. We are in desperate shape and need lots of help!”

  Image 3 CM