Tree of the Year Contest

Cathy Storey visiting our first Tree of the Year

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. As of 2023, the nomination period runs from January 15 to March 15. To encourage everyone to vote with their feet, we will provide suggested 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, subject to the guidelines below. We welcome everyone’s participation!

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

Nomination guidelines

  1. 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
  1. You can nominate more than one tree.
  2. If the same tree is nominated by more than one person, the first person to make the nomination is considered the sole nominator.
  3. Trees that have won in previous years are not eligible for nomination, but previously nominated trees that did not win are eligible. See the gallery of winners at the bottom of this page.
  4. if the tree is on private land it should be accessible to view from public land OR there needs to be prior consent from the owner to view the tree on their property.

If you have questions about the contest, please email cvn [dot] 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 members 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) will be published in a blog post, and the start of voting is also announced in a blog post. As of 2023, the voting period starts on April 1 and closes on May 31, 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.

In the event of a tie vote, the tie will be broken by a vote of the combined Tree of the Year committee and the CVN Board of Directors.

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 from CVN members in 2017 and the first winner announced in early 2018. The event has since been expanded to invite nominations and voting from the general public. 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 was designated in her honour, and a memento in the form of a painting with a tree theme was 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.

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]