NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture is pairing with Nacogdoches Parks and Recreation to host NacogdoTREES, a free, community-wide contest celebrating the natural beauty of Nacogdoches, from Sept. 19 through Nov. 18.

"The goal of NacogdoTREES is to highlight the importance of urban and community trees, raise awareness of their ecological benefits, introduce the community to the field of forestry and encourage citizens to spend time outdoors," said Sarah Fuller, outreach coordinator for SFA's Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.

The contest includes categories for largest-tree circumference, largest crown, tallest tree and best shade tree, as well as best overall tree. College faculty members developed videos available on the contest's web page to help teach and guide participants on how to complete basic forestry measurements, such as tree height and crown spread.

"Keep in mind that it's not just all about numbers and measurements," said Dr. Shelby Laird, assistant professor of forestry. "The best overall tree may be the tree with the best story, the most fans or simply just the most beautiful. We really hope NacogdoTREES will encourage people to get out to some of our amazing city parks and recreation areas on SFA's campus."

The contest also will serve as a learning opportunity for beginning forestry students at SFA. Students enrolled in Laird's careers and competencies in forestry course will execute technical measurements needed to determine the category winners. Laird said she also hopes the contest will provide insight into what specifically endears individuals to certain trees and provide baseline data for future research.

Trees eligible for submission must be located on the SFA campus or on property managed by Nacogdoches Parks and Recreation. For contest guidelines, entry forms, prize list, area maps and resources, visit