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Location: T-Town, Alabama, United States

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Did you ever read or see something that made you feel really old? Man this article from CBC did that to me. Old trees fascinate me. I have a deep since of awe for them and touch them when I come into contact. It’s like you have been here so long and must have learned so much. Look how majestic you are! Towering into the sky seeing far miles around. Oh, how many secrets do you bare?
N.B. student calls oldest spruce tree discovery 'magical'
Last Updated Thu, 20 Oct 2005 18:47:23 EDT
CBC News
A third-year university student has found the world's oldest-known red spruce tree – and he's not telling where it is.
Mount Allison student Ben Phillips found the tree while walking along the Bay of Fundy coast last summer. He took a core sample, and then counted all 445 rings under a high-powered microscope. His research team estimates the tree took root in 1560.

A close-up view of the world's oldest documented red spruce tree rings.
Phillips describes his latest discovery as magical. "The tree itself just has this glow about it. You can tell it's significant when you approach it."
The tree is so old; it predates European colonization in North America. It's at least 445 years old and the oldest documented red spruce tree on the planet.
Most red spruce trees have a lifespan of about 400 years. A 405-year-old tree in New Hampshire held the previous record.
Climate record
Phillips said the record-holding tree is small, only approximately 30 centimeters in diameter, and scraggly looking.
He's keeping its location secret because he's worried gawkier might trample on its roots, or someone might cut it down. He said it's healthy and could live many more years.
"The last time I was in there I kind of apologized to the tree for taking the core, and just told it how important I think it is," said Phillips. "I don't want other people to go in there and trample it down. The human impact that it's escaped is the reason why it's still there."
Phillips is studying endocrinology, or tree-ring analysis.

Ben Phillips takes a core sample.
His supervisor, Colin Laroque, said this discovery will open a world of knowledge for many in the scientific community because tree rings hold valuable information about climate patterns.
"We were hoping that Ben's searching might produce a tree up to 300 years old, which would have been impressive enough, but we never dreamed he'd find a 400-plus-year-old tree. This is a truly spectacular find," said Laroque.
"Ben has delivered to us a single, unbroken record of growth conditions in the region, a record that all other data can now be checked against."
Phillips received a grant from the Royal Canadian Geographic Society to look at how weather changes affect trees in the lowland-fog forest of the Fundy Basin, compared to those growing above the fog zone in the Caledonia Highlands.
He is using samples from red spruce trees to figure out what the weather was like at both lower and upper-elevation locations during the last few hundred years.
Thought for the day. My grandpa use to say son, your only as old as you feel, so quit acting like you’re a hundred years old!


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