Tree of the Year Contest

Comox Valley Nature holds an annual “Tree of the Year” contest to identify and highlight individual trees of significant interest or importance or beauty in the Comox Valley. The goal of the contest is to foster a strong connection with nature, increase awareness of cherished local trees, and raise interest in the value and protection of trees.

Any Comox Valley resident can nominate a tree they love within the Comox Valley Regional District boundaries. Typically, the nomination period runs from early January until the end of March. To encourage everyone to vote with their feet, we will provide possible cycling and walking routes to visit these trees.

While our focus is on appreciating all the trees, a winning tree will be chosen by public vote. A small prize is awarded to the nominator of the Tree of the Year, and we will all benefit from learning about these beautiful specimens.

Read our blog posts about upcoming and past Tree of the Year events.

Factors to consider when nominating and voting

When nominating a tree, consider your personal attraction to the tree. Is it beautiful or eye-catching? Is it ecologically or economically important? Does it have a unique history, or is it of cultural significance? Whatever your reason for choosing to nominate a particular tree, we invite you to share its story with us!

Nominating a tree

A blog post announces the start of the nomination period. Comox Valley residents can then nominate any tree within the regional district boundaries. We welcome everyone’s participation!

During the nomination period, use our online form here to submit your nomination.

Nominated trees can be either native or introduced. Since our native trees are iconic to our home in the valley and offer much to biodiversity, we encourage you to consider choosing a specimen of any native tree species, such as the following:

  • Garry oak
  • yellow cedar
  • lodgepole pine
  • shore pine (variation)
  • western white pine
  • Sitka spruce
  • grand fir
  • Douglas fir
  • amabilis fir
  • western hemlock
  • western redcedar
  • mountain hemlock
  • arbutus
  • western yew
  • Pacific dogwood
  • bigleaf maple
  • Douglas maple
  • black hawthorn
  • cascara
  • Pacific crab apple
  • bitter cherry
  • red alder

If you have questions about the contest, please email cvn.toty [at] gmail [dot] com.

The contest committee may contact you for further information, including to obtain a good photograph of the nominated tree if you have one. Otherwise we will send one of our photographers to the site to take a photograph to accompany your nomination.

We publish descriptions and photos of the nominated trees after the close of the nomination period.

Voting for Tree of the Year

The winning tree will be decided by Comox Valley residents through voting on the CVN website. A map of the nominees and suggestions for touring them (preferably by cycling or walking) are published in a blog post, and the start of voting is also announced in a blog post. Voting typically starts in late April and closes around June 1, and the winner is announced later in June.

If an overwhelming number of trees are nominated, the Tree of the Year committee may pre-judge the nominations to select a manageable number for voting.

During the voting period, use our online voting form here to vote.

Thank you for participating in this unique way of raising the profile of remarkable trees in the Comox Valley.

History of the contest

The concept began in the Czech Republic over 20 years ago and evolved into the European Tree of the Year Award, organized by the Environmental Partnership Association.  It has since spread to several countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany and Slovakia. The presentation ceremony takes place annually around March 21 which is the International Day of Forests.

CVN’s contest was started through the initiative of member Cathy Storey, with the first set of nominations solicited in 2017 and the first winner announced in early 2018. To the best of our knowledge, our contest is unique in North America.

Cathy passed away in December 2020, but her legacy is carrying on. Our 2021 contest is designated in her honour, and a memento in the form of a painting with a tree theme is being created. In addition to a gift basket, the winner of each year’s contest will have the privilege of enjoying the painting in their home for a year.