Student Project


Whitaker Elementary School
Winston-Salem, North Carolina USA

One Wonderful Tree

Big, loving, humungous, gnarled, without leaves in the winter, great, huge...Our project and "our tree" have left a big impression on us. It is a Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) that lives quite happily next to an old, old farm house on the outskirts of our city, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We spent the day with this tree; hugging, climbing, sketching, photographing, rubbing and playing around it.

The Northern Catalpa is native to the rich bottomlands of the central Mississippi river basin. Known for its durability as fence posts, fast growth, and ornamental value, the Northern Catalpa has been widely planted throughout the eastern United States. It is easily identified by its large heart-shaped leaves, beautiful white spotted flowers (May, early June) , and our favorite, the long curvy bean-like seed pods. The bark is scaly and shades of red and brown. The leaves grow opposite one another or in threes. Unually the Northern Catalpa grows to be between twenty and fifty feet. Ours, however, has outgrown its brothers and sisters.

According to the farm owner where the tree is located, the Catalpa tree attracts a worm known as the Catalpa worm that is prized by the locals who fish. This particular Catalpa has been officially registered as a North Carolina Big Tree and is truely one wonderful tree.


Teacher: Andy Lester-Niles
(Researchers & Artists):
Ranger, Cory, Jalisa, Tranae, Matthew, Jazmin, William, Cavett, Urica, Nikki, Christopher, April, Mary Lea, & Sharon

Title: "One Wonderful Tree"
Media: ink, torn paper, charcoal, crayon, marker, photographs, and crumpled leaves on poster board
size: 7 ft X 2 ft

Northern Catalpa
Latin Name: Catalpa speciosa
Age: Approximately 140 years
Circumference: 180 inches at 54 inches from the ground
Height: 64 ft.
Crown average: 52 ft.
Location: Forsyth County, (just outside Winston-Salem) North Carolina USA







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Please send e-mail to: June Julian jj68@nyu.edu