There was nothing wooden about the response to a recent contest to identify your favourite trees.
The 2012 Amazing Tree Quest — organized by St. Boniface-based Rivers West Red River Corridor in partnership with the Manitoba Forestry Association — garnered around 650 online votes from community members across the province for 24 nominated trees.
The criteria for trees in Winnipeg were that trees had to be situated along the Red River Corridor (technically, the contest spans the area of the corridor from Emerson to Lake Winnipeg).
Among the categories were Biggest (Diameter) Tree, Tallest Tree and Wildest Crown; Historic Tree; Most Notable Tree; People’s Favourite Tree and Best Photograph.
St. Vital resident Cathy Haining won in the latter two categories for the massive Carolina poplar that adorns the front yard of her Pulberry-area home.
Measured by the MFA, the tree is 20 metres tall, has a circumference of 443 centimetres, a diameter of 141 centimetres and a crown spread of 22.3 metres.
Haining’s only unanswered question is the tree’s age: "People often want to know how old it is. My husband thinks it’s at least 100 years old as it’s so big. We’d love to know."
"We get a lot of comments from people who come through the street and say what a glorious tree it is," said Haining, an educational assistant at Windsor Park Collegiate who has lived in the house since 1997. "We’re very pleased to have it, as it’s a beautiful tree. We’re very proud of it and love everything about it."
The Hainings also don’t mind the regular maintenance that comes with a tree of such majestic proportions, which includes raking the leaves and picking up the branches after a storm or high wind, as well keeping a close eye on their eavestroughs.
"During the last storm we had, we were outside in the rain, because there were so many dead branches. It was just Mother Nature doing her thing," she said.
Among the other nominations for the contest were an American elm in River Heights, a butternut in St. James, a bur oak in North Kildonan and a plains cottonwood in West St. Paul.
Rivers West’s executive director Julie Turenne-Maynard said one of the goals of the contest is to create awareness about the "important role trees play in our lives and environment, and the need to protect and conserve them."
"We are very pleased with the number of trees nominated this year and of the increased interest by the general public to particpate in the voting process," said Turenne-Maynard, who lives in Southdale.
For more information, visit www.thinktrees.org.