© Dawn Kish
TREE SCIENTISTDr. George Koch
Dr. George Koch likes to climb trees. Tall trees. In fact, he once climbed a 379-foot tree in Northern California — just for the sake of research. Koch is a biology professor at Northern Arizona University, and his work outside of the classroom revolves around extremes in nature. "It may seem an abstract thing to study, but studying extremes helps us understand the limits of life on planet Earth and how organisms deal with those extremes," he says. Last spring, Koch confirmed a hunch he'd had about a tall tree in Oak Creek Canyon. Koch, along with a friend and Arizona Highways photographer Dawn Kish, climbed the tree to the very top. "You can find what you think is a big tree, but you need to climb it and drop an actual tape measure to be sure," Koch says. The ponderosa pine measured 175 feet, setting a new height record for the Arizona Register of Big Trees.
— Kathy Ritchie
For more information about the Arizona Register of Big Trees, visit www.arizonensis.org/bigtrees/index.html.