Big Tree Exhibit Opening


We did it!  On Sunday, July 10, the Cortes Museum welcomed the community to join in celebrating the opening of The Story of the Big Tree: the Fir, the Fungus & the Fallers – our 2016 summer exhibit.

The event was a great success and attended by more than eighty people. Original music by Radhika Raturi and greetings by board member Erika Grundmann welcomed guests into the Heritage Garden. After CIMAS president Lynne Jordan introduced the exhibit curators Nancy Kendel, Bonnie MacDonald, Christian Gronau, and Ray Kendel, each spoke about their experience with creating the displays and how the felling of the giant fir affected them. Board member Rose Hanson, Brenda Hanson and Jeannie Hanuse then honoured the big tree with songs and drumming, and Brenda spoke passionately about ancient trees and the knowledge they possess about the world we all live in.

The age of the big tree, 588 years as determined by curator Christian Gronau, was announced along with the winners of the Age the Tree contest. With a range of guesses from 88 to 4365 years of age, the adult winner John Wood got closest with an estimate of 589 ½ . Maia de Costa won the kids group with an estimate of 550 years. Interestingly, the kids category had a smaller range, i.e. from 126 – 1580 years of age. Both winners are excited to receive their prize of a t-shirt printed with an image of the tree “cookie”.

Among the guests was award winning mycologist, Paul Stamets, whom CIMAS has invited to share his knowledge of the amazing Agarikon fungus.  The presentation is planned for  Thursday, August 18, at 7:30 pm, at the Manson’s Landing Hall. Examples of the Agarikon, one of which was discovered living on the Big Tree, are featured in our exhibit.  To learn more about Paul Stamets, our presenter and part-time Cortes Island resident, please check

Everyone was then invited to have a piece of cake, a glass of punch and to enjoy The Story of the Big Tree, which was conceived and curated by CIMAS vice president, Nancy Kendel.

If you find yourself asking or wondering about the Big Tree – where was it, why did it come down, how did it come down, why is it significant, why was it not logged years ago – come visit the Museum,  Tuesday to Sunday,  10-4,  and the host will happily give you a tour or let you wander through history at your own pace.

You may also check our video from the opening day on YouTube or on our Facebook page.


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