The Jeuns

Illinois’ largest tree receives recognition once more

May 27, 2024 | by The Jeuns

An impressive tree located in Ogle County, Illinois, has caught the attention of the Natural Land Institute. Each month, the Institute recognizes a noteworthy tree, and for May, they have chosen a 200-year-old eastern cottonwood tree in Mt. Morris, Illinois, making it the largest tree in the state.

Kim Johnsen, the director of marketing and membership at the Institute, shared that the organization previously owned the land where the tree now stands. The land was later purchased by the Byron Forest Preserve, who discovered the massive tree during their restoration efforts.

What makes this tree unique is not only its size but also a large limb that extends outward, providing a playful opportunity for children to climb. Situated at the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve in Mt. Morris, it has become a popular attraction for visitors.

The Legacy Tree program by NLI was established in January of this year. Inspired by the loss of significant trees in the community, the Institute’s executive director, Alan Branhagen, initiated this recognition program, drawing on his past experience with other organizations.

In collaboration with Severson Dells, NLI will be hosting wildflower walkabouts. The choice to honor the cottonwood tree this month aligns with the upcoming walkabout at the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve on May 29th. This event offers a unique opportunity for nature enthusiasts to explore the breathtaking beauty of the area.

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