A champion tree is the largest of a particular species. It has a certain mystique that stimulates interest, respect and a certain amount of awe. They are not only special, they are worth protecting and recognizing for future generations. The magnificent forest protected within the Little River National Wildlife Refuge is home to 11 state-champion trees. The fertile soils of the bottomland floodplain provide excellent growing conditions for many species of trees.
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Forestry Association, in cooperation with the Oklahoma Forestry Services, searches out and records the largest trees of each species in the state. Champion trees found on the refuge include: Baldcyress, Hercules-Club, Shagbark Hickory, Water Hickory, Sugar Maple, Cherrybark Oak, Overcup Oak, Pawpaw, Sugarberry, Sweatleaf, and Water-Elm.Oklahoma’s champion tree program recognizes the largest tree of each species and provides a registry in “The Great Trees of Oklahoma.” To view the registry of state champion trees in Oklahoma visit the Oklahoma State Champion Trees website.
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The Little River National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few places in Oklahoma where this most secretive of birds has been known to nest. Lucky visitors might see it probing under leaves and flipping them in search of insects. Or listen in the forest for its loud, ringing call.
Learn more and listen to its call.
Photo by Berlin Heck.