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Extension is expanding its online education and resources while in-person events and classes are canceled.

Minnesota Tree and Woodland Carbon Capture Challenge

Forest reflected in a lake.

The Minnesota Tree and Woodland Carbon Capture Challenge is a friendly competition for Minnesotans to learn about the role of trees as a natural climate solution.

Participants will take measurements at the beginning and end of the 2020 growing season to determine how much carbon their trees capture from the atmosphere. This is a family-friendly activity to help explore your woods.

There are two categories in the Minnesota Tree and Woodland Carbon Capture Challenge: Single Trees and Woodlands. Enter as an individual or team. You can select one or both categories to participate in. But only one entry is allowed per category.

For both categories you need to measure the same tree(s) at two points in the growing season:

  • Measure at the start of the growing season. Measurements will not be accepted after May 29, 2020.
  • Measure at the end of the growing season. Measurements will not be accepted after September 30, 2020.

Win a prize!

The team or individual that sequesters the most carbon will win a cribbage board made from white oak. One cribbage board will go to the winner of the single tree category and one to the winner of the woodland category.

Event information

Location
Online
Contact

Matthew Russell, Extension specialist in forest resources
russellm@umn.edu, 612-626-4280

Cost

Free

Registration

You can enter the Single Tree category, the Woodland category. You must enter by May 29, 2020.

Throughout the spring and summer in 2020, monthly updates on the Carbon Capture Challenge will be given in the MyMinnesotaWoods email newsletter. Subscribe here!

Trees and climate change

Trees are a natural climate solution, absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it as wood. This means that healthy growing trees increase carbon sequestration and help offset greenhouse gas emissions. 

According to recent estimates in the United States, forests remove about 11% of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere. This is a motivation for keeping healthy trees and forests on the landscape! Minnesota woodland owners own 40% of the state’s forests or about 6.8 million acres.

The American Forest Foundation estimates that across all forest ownerships, private woodland owners have the greatest opportunity to mitigate the effects of future climate change through storing and sequestering carbon in their trees and woodlands.

In Minnesota this is especially true: our diverse forests from the North Woods in northern Minnesota to the Blufflands in southeastern Minnesota present a rich opportunity to contribute to natural climate solutions.

Rules

There are two categories in the Minnesota Tree and Woodland Carbon Capture Challenge: Single Trees and Woodlands. Enter as an individual or team. You can select one or both categories to participate in. But only one entry is allowed per category.

For both categories you need to measure the same tree(s) at two points in the growing season:

  • Measure at the start of the growing season. Measurements will not be accepted after May 29, 2020.
  • Measure at the end of the growing season. Measurements will not be accepted after September 30, 2020.
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Timeline

Whether you choose the Single Tree or the Woodland category:

  • Complete your pre-growing season measurements before May 29, 2020.
    • Before the end of May 2020, Extension forestry specialist Matt Russell will email you an estimate of how much carbon is stored in your tree or woodland.
  • Complete your after-growing season measurements before September 30, 2020.
    • After all measurements are collected, Extension forestry specialist Matt Russell will email you an estimate of how much carbon your tree or woodland sequestered throughout the growing season.
  • Winners of the Minnesota Tree and Woodland Carbon Capture Challenge will be announced at the Minnesota Woodland Owner Weekend event scheduled for Oct 2-3, 2020 at St. John’s University. (Winners will be notified in advance).
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