Cottonwood Artisan Event 

Champion Cottonwood Artisan Event

Carve!

Carve! is an art show that features works of art created from fallen limbs from the Champion Cottonwood Tree. The exhibit includes functional art, turned bowls, vases and furniture. Items and booklets are for sale and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Foundation.

Exhibit Hours & Admission Fees

Longmont Museum & Cultural Center
Map & Directions

Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 a.m. - 5 p.m.

$5 adults
$3 students/seniors (62+)
Free for members and children 5 and under

Exhibit runs through January 20.

David Hawley Anasazi Seed Pot Sold

David Hawley Lidded Pot Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Rebirth of a Tree Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Lidded Pot Sold

David Hawley Vessel Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Spirit Form Bowl Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

David Hawley Cottonwood Bowl Sold

Rick Maddux Still $12,500

Drew Nichols Cottonwood Bowl Sold

Drew Nichols Cottonwood Bowl Sold

Drew Nichols Cottonwood Bowl Sold

Tim O'Brien Cottonwood Clock $250

Tim O'Brien Burl Bookends with Marble Bases Sold

Tim O'Brien Lighted Bird Cathedral with Custom Etched Glass $550

Tim O'Brien Two Acorns $250 each (2 available)

Tim O'Brien Jewelry Box $600

Tim O'Brien Four Piece Trivet Set with Base $175

Tim O'Brien Asymmetrical Bowl $150

Chris Olberding Transition $800

John Rexford From the Outside Looking In #1 Sold

John Rexford From the Outside Looking In #2 Sold

John Rexford From the Outside Looking In #3 Sold

John Rexford From the Outside Looking In #4 Sold

John Rexford From the Outside Looking In #5 Sold

Michael Roper Life After Death $1,000

Anne Shutan Exposed $2,400

Anne Shutan Cottonwood Throne Sold

Joseph Sikora The Little Chapel Sold

Joseph Sikora The Old Stone Tower Chapel Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Small Natural Edge Straight Burl Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Natural Edge Burl Bowl Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Flared Natural Edge Straight Burl Vase with Brass Inlay Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Natural Edge Straight Burl Bowl Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Hollow Form Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Natural Edge Straight Burl Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Winged Natural Edge Burl Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Flared Natural Edge Straight Burl Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Natural Edge Burl Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Natural Openings Vase Sold

Rodney Taylor Cottonwood Thick Natural Edge Burl Bowl Sold

Fred Wilson Untitled Sold

Fred Wilson Untitled Sold

Fred Wilson Untitled Sold



Purchase

To purchase an item or a booklet for $5, email Karen Imbierowicz or call 303-678-6268. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Foundation.


Champion Cottonwood Tree

Champion Cottonwood Tree
Champion Cottonwood Tree
photo by Marsh Steckling

This is a story of greatness, longevity and strength. For over 120 years, a special cottonwood tree made its home in an irrigation ditch running through property owned by Boulder County in Hygiene. In 1967, the tree was designated as a national champion, the largest of its species, by the American Forests organization. Champion trees are measured using the American Forests calculation based on trunk circumference, height and average crown spread. The Hygiene Champion Cottonwood tree was nominated by Alegra Collister, a Longmont Audubon member, and until its demise in 2012 was recognized as the largest Plains Cottonwood in the registry. At its apex, this Gentle Giant, as it became to be known, measured 112 feet tall with a 36-foot circumference!

History

In 1995, Boulder County purchased the property where the tree stands to protect the riparian corridor along the St. Vrain Creek. Special wildlife species found to thrive along this corridor include a seventeen-nest Heron rookery, federally protected Preble's meadow jumping mouse, beavers and native fish which provide food for osprey, bald and golden eagles.

For decades the tree was fed by the waters of an adjacent irrigation ditch and thrived. Because of the high water flows in this ditch, this was the perfect setting for the establishment of the tree.

According to the American Forests website, "most champs are lucky to have a continuous run of more than five years." The Gentle Giant remained a champion for 45 years! However, in 2010, staff began noticing the slow but steady decline of the tree and in 2011 the last growth was observed on the great tree. At this time, the department wanted to propagate the tree in hopes of continuing its legacy. In March of 2012, staff scaled the tree to determine if there was any live material. None was found.

Recent core samples determined that the tree was between 120-145 years old, another exceptional characteristic considering most cottonwood trees live about 70 years. Special thanks go to Jonathan Friedman of the U.S. Geological Survey and Jeff Lukas of the University of Colorado's Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences. Given that the tree has a girth wide enough to require 13 men holding outstretched arms to encircle it, a specialized long bore was needed to gather samples. These scientists used a 100-centimeter-long bore to obtain three core samples and determine the tree's approximate age.

Celebrating the Tree

The department has decided to let the tree stand for as long as it will, harvesting wood when possible after it has fallen. In the fall of 2012, our forestry team used a special crane to harvest a fallen branch that measured the same size as an average, fully-grown cottonwood tree. The wood was offered to select Colorado woodworkers to create artistic pieces.

New Growth

As part of the celebration of the tree, we want to offer a few community organizations a Champion Cottonwood sapling. Because we were not able to harvest any live growth from the tree itself, we looked to nearby sprouts for the potential of being offspring or genetic clones of the Champion. To confirm the genetic match of the sprouts, we located Dr. Matias Kirst, Professor of Quantitative Genetics at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Our arborist, Cathy Thiltgen, collected samples of the dried leaves of the deceased cottonwood along with the living leaves of the sprouts to send to Florida for testing. Genetic testing confirmed that the sprouts were genetically identical to the Gentle Giant, allowing us to move forward and grow sapling clones of the Champion.

Sapling clones are growing at the Colorado State University greenhouse and we plan to present these to a few community organizations who can offer a suitable environment for the young saplings to thrive so that the story of this Gentle Giant of Boulder County stretches into the future.

Epilogue

On a damp spring day in May 2013, smoke billowed from the colossal trunk's hollow cavities. Local fire authorities were able to extinguish the fire but a massive limb, almost a third of the entire tree, split off and crashed to the ground further weakening the now fragile giant.


Contacts

Parks & Open Space
Karen Imbierowicz
303-678-6268
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