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North Texas Nature Challenge

Clark Gardens Botanical Park is a "Mission Site" for the DFW / North Texas Nature Challenge!

The Nature Challenge for 2011 has closd. As information for the 2012 Nature Challenge becomes available it will be added here.

Following is the information for the 2011 Nature Challenge...

The goal of Texas Nature Challenge is to get families and kids outdoors by visiting as many participating parks and nature areas in Texas as they can this summer. At each site, participants complete activities designed for family fun and nature exploration. Participation prizes will be awarded at the closing ceremonies for the most sites visited, best scrapbook, best photo and more.

To learn more about the Texas Nature Challenge and register your family or team, visit the Texas Nature Challenge website.

Your Mission at Clark Gardens: What is a Champion Tree?

To complete your mission you must first report to the gift shop to pick up your Backpack Biology Pack and your Challenge Mission Tree Book. To receive your mission backpack a deposit of a driver’s license is necessary. There will be 2 books to choose from according to the age of participants. In it you will find a map of Clark Gardens. Use your map to find the Historic Tree Trail and proceed to the Trail.

About the Historic Tree Trail

Historic Tree Trail EntranceThe young trees planted here are the genuine offspring of the original historic trees that bore witness to the lives and events that shaped our nation. They were purchased through American Forests’ Historic Tree Program, which brings history alive by sharing America’s stories through the oldest living beings in nature. The one-year-old seedlings arrived at the park, and were planted from 4” containers. They had been grown from cuttings or seeds handpicked from the original historic trees.

Some of the trees were planted in our park in 2000 and others just recently. Enjoy your stroll through history and read about our heritage. You will see trees such as the Alamo Live Oak, the Lyndon Johnson Winged Elm, the Helen Keller Water Oak, the Mount Vernon Sweet Buckeye, the Navajo-Apache Cottonwood, as well as the Moon Sycamore which was grown from a seed that travelled into space on one of the Apollo missions. In this year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, you will see offspring of over 20 trees that witnessed many Civil War events. There are even a couple of trees from Elvis’ Graceland Mansion!

What is a Champion Tree?

tape measureAmerican Forests also maintains the National Register of Big Trees, a list of national champion trees. Champion trees are the largest living example of a tree species. To prove that a tree is a champion the tree is measured by the Champion Tree Point System. This is a standard measuring system agreed upon by scientists to determine the largest tree of its species.

Your Mission

You will measure a tree to determine its point value and compare the tree on the Clark Historic Tree Trail with the champion of the same species. This will give you a new appreciation for the importance of our champion trees.

The Texas Forest Service also maintains a Champion Tree list of Texas trees. Clark Gardens is home to a state runner up champion Mexican plum tree!

Your Backpack Will Include

  • Map of Clark Gardens
  • Champion Tree Measurement Directions
  • Materials to help you compare the Clark trees to the champion tree of that species
  • List of Texas Big Trees
  • Measurements of current American Forest Champions
  • Arbor Day Foundation tree field guide entitled, "What Tree Is That?"
  • Biographical information about historic Clark Gardens trees
  • Information sheets to learn about identifying trees
  • Directions for completing the mission and your tree books
AmericanForests.orgUpon completion of your mission, check out the rest of our amazing garden.

Remember to return your backpack and tree book for your mission accomplished sticker and your free Moon Sycamore seeds from American Forests.

Oxbow Lake Bridge