The sturdy and majestic oak has been extolled in music, paintings, and poems, to name just a few mediums. However, Mary Jo Cusack of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust would like to encourage Barrington residents to go a step further and nominate their favorite tree for the First Annual Great Oak of Barrington contest.
Known as the Heritage Tree, The Oak has been associated with such values as strength and steadfastness, which also exemplifies the area, according to Cusack. “I think it’s a great representation of what Barrington is,” she said
Varieties of the up to three hundred years old area trees include The Swamp Oak, the Burr Oak, the White Oak, Scarlet Oak, Black and Northern Red and all are welcome as contestants.
Even if the tree has yet to be officially identified, Oak trees are among the easiest to recognize by virtue of their broad, flat, symmetrical leaves and towering height. Acorns are also associated with the species along with rough bark.
Once the tree is chosen, contributors should go to this website to find the official entry form where questions pertaining to the approximate height and circumference, location and the overall health of the tree should be answered. However, if the variety is unknown, members of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust will identify the species. Entries and photos can be emailed to KYancey@BACTrust.org, faxed to 847-381-4291 or mailed to 17 Oakdene Road, Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Five trees will be chosen based on size, appearance, age, and health. Winners will receive a plaque, a $100 gift certificate from Pasquesi’s Home and Garden Center, and a one-hour consultation with an oak tree expert. The winning trees will be announced during Earth Week, which takes place from April 17 to 23. All entries should arrive before April 15.
Eight Barrington area communities are welcome to participate: Village of Barrington, Barrington Hills, North Barrington, South Barrington, Tower Lakes, Lake Barrington, Deer Park and Inverness.
Cusack is looking forward to the entrants as she feels a strong connection to the oak tree in her life. “When you think of an oak tree, its amazing how many people have stories,” she said. “I remember growing up, we had a wonderful tree over 200 years old. So every time I think of an Oak, I remember my childhood.”