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Largest Tulip Poplar tree discovered

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Photo courtesy of John Overington. Toby Corbin stands next to the winning Tulip Poplar tree measuring 236 inches in circumference and 116 feet tall. Photo courtesy of John Overington. Toby Corbin stands next to the winning Tulip Poplar tree measuring 236 inches in circumference and 116 feet tall.
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They grow 'em bigger in the Eastern Panhandle, and Delegate John Overington, R-Berkeley, confirmed it with the details of the 2013 Tree Contest at the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District Annual Awards Banquet.

Overington announced Tony and Bobbi Corbin of Gerrardstown as the winners, since they found the largest Tulip Poplar tree, which was the designated species for this year's contest.

Overington said the West Virginia Division of Forestry, which identifies the largest species of each tree throughout the state, hadn't found the largest sugar maple tree, which is the state tree. Through the contest, a sugar maple larger than the one that was in the state record books was located in Shepherdstown.

Two dozen entries were submitted for the contest, including trees from Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties. Forester Herb Peddicord uses scientific criterion to determine the largest tree as the one with the most points. Points are based on the tree's circumference, total height and crown spread.

The Corbins received the $500 prize along with a copy of the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer.

The contest stems from Overington's lifetime interest in trees, which was due in large part to his grandfather, Fred W. Besley. Overington's maternal grandfather was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to help determine whether forestland could be best managed through a state or federal system. He became Maryland's first state forester and served 36 years in that position, becoming the nation's longest-serving state forester. Overington serves on the West Virginia Legislature's Forest Management Review Commission and said he has planted thousands of trees with his wife, JoAnn, on their farm in the Bedington area.