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. To encourage everyone to vote with their feet, we will provide possible cycling and walking routes to visit these trees. Typically, the nomination period runs from early January until the end of March.
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
Comox Valley residents can nominate any tree within the regional district boundaries. Nominations for the 2021 contest are open now and close on April 1.
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
- western yew
- Pacific dogwood
- bigleaf maple
- Douglas maple
- black hawthorn
- 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.
Voting for Tree of the Year
The winning tree will be decided by Comox Valley residents through voting on the CVN website. Self-directed tour guides for cycling or walking will be prepared by April 19 and voting will open then (return to this page for details). Voting will close June 1, and the winner to be announced on June 10.
If an overwhelming number of trees are nominated, the Tree of the Year committee will pre-judge the nominations to select a manageable maximum of 20 trees for voting.
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.