04/07/14 – Hawaii’s “Coco” Crowned As Ultimate Big Tree For 2014

Posted on Apr 7, 2014 in Forestry & Wildlife, News Releases

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release April 07, 2014 

HAWAII’S “COCO” CROWNED AS ULTIMATE BIG TREE FOR 2014
Big Tree Madness brings attention to important species

(Honolulu) In the championship round of American Forests’ Big Tree Madness contest, “Coco” a towering coconut palm at the Hawea Heiau Complex in Hawaii Kai, beat out Missouri’s “Big Sassy Basswood.” Voting on April 4, 2014 on the American Forests’ Facebook page resulted in “Coco” receiving 64% of the votes to “Big Sassy Basswood’s” 36%. During the three-week long contest, mirrored after the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament, thousands of people from around the country voted for their favorite big trees. This was the second year of the contest.

Since 1940, according to American Forests’, the National Big Tree Program has recognized the beauty and critical ecosystem services provided by our biggest and oldest trees. More than 750 champions are crowned each year and documented in the biannual publication — the National Register of Big Trees. For more than 70 years, the goal of the big tree program has remained: to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment.

“Coco” may not the biggest tree in overall girth , but to think at 112 feet high it’s withstood winds and storms and remains so stately and upright, makes it a remarkable tree,” said William Aila, Jr., chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). “It appears like a guardian over the Hawea Heiau Complex. It is an important historical and cultural site that was recently protected from any future development in a heavily urbanized area,” Aila explained.

“We really want to thank all of the people in Hawaii who voted for “Coco,” said Lisa Hadway administrator of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “Our staff effectively utilized social media and with help from the news media were very successful in getting the Hawaii vote out. This is a testament to how Hawaii mobilizes behind a fun and good cause. It has also become a great way to expose people to the importance of big trees in our overall ecosystem,” Hadway said.

Hawaii currently has ten trees on the National Register of Big Trees. Including “Coco” (Niu) on Oahu. The others are: Aalii (Hopbush on Maui), Wiliwili (Erythrina Sandwicensis on Hawaii), Hau (Sea Hibsuscus on Hawaii), Koa (Acacia koa on Hawaii), Manele (Soapberry Wingleaf on Hawaii), Olopua (Hawaiian Olive on Hawaii), Papalakepau (Pisonia brunoniana on Hawaii), Kolea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana on Hawaii), and Mamane (Sophora chrysophylla on Hawaii).

For more information on these trees please visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/info/big-tree/.
For more information on the national program please visit http://www.americanforests.org/our-programs/bigtree/.
Photographs of “Coco” are available at https://plus.google.com/101613020396360217549/posts?hl=en%3Fhl=en

Media Contacts:
Deborah Ward
Public Information Specialist
(808) 587-0320

Dan Dennison
Education and Outreach Coordinator
(808) 587-0407