What's the Story?
Many years ago several residents made a map of the neighborhood's largest and most notable trees. During the pandemic, Gordon Coker uncovered this map and noticed many of the trees had died or been removed. So the initial goal was to update the orginal map and maybe add a few new trees. The goal eventually became: identify the largest examples of all the tree species within the neighborhood. Meg Staton—a professor and tree reasercher at UT—converted that initial hand-drawn map into a shared Google Map and began to expand the number of species accounted for. Meg's husband, Evan Tishuk, thought he could help and used countless dog-walks to scout for hidden trees, confirm identifications, and break apparent ties. Over the course of several months, this yielded more than 50 new additions to the map. That necessitated a more sophisticated mapping and data solution, which resulted in the site you see here.
This project is built toward the goal of becoming a registered arboretum. Fulfilling the requirements of that involves more time and continued effort, but this database, map, and website helps provide the technological groundwork.
In the short term, we'll be adding the ability to associate more than 1 photo with each tree, better GPS integration, mobile device optimizations, and more detailed data about each tree.
There are discussions about:
- Adding walking loop itineraries to the map,
- Creating more elaborate scavenger hunts,
- Holding an annual event,
- Installing plaques,
- Adding indentification information and images
If you have more suggestions, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why isn't my tree listed anywhere?
Well, maybe it should be! Give us a heads up and we'll check it out!
What's the difference between a "Giant" and a "Champion"?
- "Champions" are the largest examples of a given species within the neighborhood (at least, so far as we can tell). In some cases, there is only one example of a species, and it becomes the champion by default (see: the American Sycamore or the Overcup Oak)
- "Giants" are subjectively chosen as particualrly large or impressive tree specimens. They are all Champions.
- "Silver" designates trees that are second place or next in line should the current champion be removed.
- "Champion invasives" is perhaps a questionable label, but it denotes the largest example of an invasive tree species.
What's considered a tree?
If it looks like a tree and is over 15 feet tall, it's probably eligible (with some exceptions, like bamboo).
How can I help?
- Could always use more and better photographs; especially for trees that are difficult to view from the sidewalk.
- Do you have any pertinent historical knowledge? Send it in!
- If you know of or own a tree that is missing from the map, please let us know.
- If you see anything that's incorrect, let us know.
- If you're looking to plant a tree, maybe consider something unique or under-represented—like an osage orange, or Kentucky coffee tree! Keep in mind the grass verge along the sidewalks are city-owned, so you would need permission to plant a tree there.
- If you can, remove invasive trees from your property. For instance, there are tons of Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) all over the neighborhood.
- As we seek arboretum status, there may be ample volunteer opportunities. Please stay tuned.