Bismarck women on the hunt for city’s ‘champion trees’

Published: Dec. 25, 2021 at 10:12 AM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Trees are an important part of our city. They provide shade on a hot summer day, provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and they can even block the sounds of traffic.

In Bismarck, the city plants between 750 and a 1,000 new trees each year. But there are also plenty of old trees, some of them have been deemed worth of recognition.

Two women have been working to identify the city’s champion trees.

Susan Wefald and Nancy Willis are passionate about trees.

“I love trees,” said Willis.

They love them so much they’ve spent the past year looking for the city’s biggest trees.

Determining which are champion trees wasn’t easy. The city provided them with some special measuring tools. The women measured the tree’s circumference and height as well as the spread of the branches.

Looking for big trees became a bit of an obsession for Wefald and Willis.

“We were both walking around the city looking at the trees and then we’d think, ‘gosh we better go measure that one,’” recalled Wefald.

The friends found the city’s largest American Elm, green ash, linden, bur oak and cottonwood trees. Some of the findings were a surprise, but they say, that’s what made this project so interesting and it’s that passion that makes these women, champions for all trees.

The ladies’

can be found on the City of Bismarck’s website and the Bismarck Parks and Rec’s website.

They will present their research and their findings at the North Dakota Heritage Center on Sunday January 16 at 2 p.m.

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