Cataloguing Alberta’s Heritage Trees
In 2019, with support from the Edmonton Heritage Council, I embarked on a year-long project to catalogue Edmonton’s heritage trees and plants. While doing so, I came across Lethbridge arborist Maureen Sexsmith-West and the two of us teamed up to start the Alberta Tree Register.
The Alberta Tree Register attempts to pick up where past initiatives left off. Initiatives such as Heritage Trees of Alberta (2008) and Alberta Trees of Renown (1986) collected hundreds of Alberta heritage trees, but we believe many plants remain hidden and unrecognized. That’s why, unlike past efforts, the Tree Register is community-sourced, allowing anyone to nominate their favourite Alberta trees.
Add A Tree To the Alberta Tree Register
Step 1: Search The Alberta Tree Register
Before adding a tree, it’s worth checking to see if it is already featured in the database. There are two ways to do this, but zooming in on the Alberta Tree Register Map is easiest. The second way is by directly searching the database.
My favourite thing to do is zoom into my City, community, or block to see what’s around me. When visiting a new town, I’ll often check out the map in advance.
Step 2: Create a Tree Register Profile (optional)
If you plan to add multiple trees or want credit, I encourage you to register as a tree nominator. Registering isn’t strictly necessary, but it helps us keep track of where nominations are coming from or to contact you if we have any questions about specific trees you’ve added. Registering is a one-step, one-time step, process.
Step 3: Add Your Tree
How do you know what tree to add? Heritage trees tend to be large, old, uncommon (rare), unique (strange growth habit, etc.), or connected to a historical event, person, or location. But honestly, if you love a tree enough to add it to the tree register, it belongs on the list.
There are two ways to add a tree. Click on the hamburger button (green button with three horizontal lines) from the map and click “Add a Tree,” allowing you to use your current GPS location or the map to select the location manually. The second method is to go directly to the form below.
Collect Your Data
The Tree Nomination Form will ask you all kinds of questions, but the only required fields are municipality, address, location on property, and description. Fill this information in as best possible and be as descriptive as possible.
In addition to the required field, the form will ask you for the tree’s genus and species (common names will also appear), neighbourhood, photos, tree height, diameter, canopy spread, date planted, condition, and name (ex. The Holowach Horsechestnut, or Maggie’s Grade 1 Tree).’
Once you add a tree, our admin will be notified. We’ll be able to verify some of the data and make the tree public. Once public, the tree will appear on the Alberta Tree Register map.
You can learn more about the Alberta Tree Register by visiting AlbertaTree.ca.