Eric Wiseman, associate professor of urban forestry and arboriculture, has been named coordinator of the Virginia Big Tree Program, based in the college’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. “I will work very hard to ensure that everyone continues to enjoy and value the Virginia Big Tree Program,” he said.

The program, which began as a 4-H and Future Farmers of America project in 1970, maintains a database of the five largest trees of each species in the state. Citizens participate by searching for and nominating trees and by helping to re-measure trees every 10 years. The Virginia Urban Forest Council augments the volunteer effort by funding a summer internship position for a Virginia Tech forestry student to measure and photograph trees around the state.

Virginia currently has 64 big trees in the National Big Tree Register, placing it in fourth place. “It’s remarkable that Virginia has that many champions given the size of the state,” Wiseman said. “It’s a testament to the rich natural resources we have and people’s passion to the program.”

Wiseman takes the reins from Professor Emeritus and Extension Specialist Jeffrey Kirwan, who coordinated Virginia’s program for the past 10 years. “Having someone like Eric is a big step forward,” Kirwan remarked. “People who own these trees have questions about tree care and protection, and a trained arborist like Eric is well qualified to advise and assist.”

“It’s a real privilege to pick up where Jeff left off,” said Wiseman, who is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. “He’s done an excellent job of bringing together a committed core of volunteers.”

“The Big Tree Program is a wonderful complement to our department’s urban forestry program,” Wiseman continued. “It fits in with the mission of what we’re trying to accomplish with our urban forestry outreach at Virginia Tech.”