By Karen Cernich


Photo Contest Wraps Up December 21

Swamp White Oak at Treloar Trailhead

This time of year, fir trees get most of the attention, but here at Magnificent Missouri, we want to celebrate a few others — Cottonwoods, Pecans, Walnuts, Oaks, Sycamores, Pawpaws… all of the Missouri natives that you’ll find growing along the Katy Trail in the Missouri river valley.

Back in September, on the first day of fall, we launched our first #KatyTrailTrees photo contest, inviting photographers (professional and amateur) to post photos of their favorite Katy Trail trees to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #KatyTrailTrees, tagging us and Peers Store.

The contest will draw to a close Tuesday, Dec. 21, but there is still plenty of time to get out on the trail to snap a photo and post it. There’s a lot of beauty in the structure of trees, which is so visible right now that they have lost their leaves.

Or scroll through your phone’s camera roll to find a Katy Trail tree photo that you took earlier this year and post that. It could have been taken last winter, maybe with snow on the branches, last spring, as new leaves were sprouting and maybe a few birds were nesting, or over the summer when the canopy was full of greenery. If you have more than one favorite, post them all. There’s no limit on how many posts you can enter in the contest. However, all photos should be of trees found along the Katy Trail and Highway 94, between St. Charles and McKittrick. If possible, add a caption to your photo, including the type of tree and mile marker location.

Bur Oak near Defiance, MO

Winners will be selected by the Magnificent Missouri board of directors and announced in January. The winners will be exhibited next spring at the Peers Store just down the Trail from the Treloar Trailhead and the newly planted “Trees of Treloar.” Winners also will receive gift certificates to Peers Store.

“Our goal is to encourage people to get out on the trail” said Dan Burkhardt, president of Magnificent Missouri. “While they’re out there we want them to encourage them to appreciate the natural world. The Trail provides a lot of recreation and we want to add a little education to the recreation. By encouraging people to take photos of the trees, we hope that makes them think about those individual trees, what species they are and how they grew there — some of these trees saw Lewis and Clark pass by!”

Next spring, we will continue our focus on trees by launching a tree planting program with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, which that operates the only nonprofit community-assisted tree nursery in the region. With funding provided by a grant from a St. Louis foundation, we will plant more Missouri native trees along the Katy Trail. We plan to work with Missouri State Parks and private landowners to identify the best locations and plans are to begin planting the trees in March and April.

“With Forest ReLeaf, we are talking about creating the next generation of trees along the trail,” said Burkhardt.