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Eastern Hemlock

Latin name:
Tsuga canadensis

Extracted from a waterfront pier near Wilmington, Delaware, the tree used to make this portion of the pier
actually came from a forest located in central Pennsylvania. The outermost tree ring dates to the late 1830s.

Giant Sequoia

Latin name:
Sequoiadendron giganteum

A close up of numerous fire scars on a giant sequoia cross section from Sequoia National Park in California, dating back well prior to A.D. 1000. Look closely! Can you find the sad bearded face cradled by his hands, as if he was crying?


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

This photo shows the tree rings from a beam extracted many years ago from a pueblo in northeastern Arizona. The section shows many false rings and many micro-rings, suggesting this tree may have been growing in a marginal environment.

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

Close up of tree rings of a ponderosa pine collected at El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico, USA, showing tree rings centered around A.D. 1400. Notice the variability in ring widths indicative of sensitivity to year-to-year variation in precipitation.


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

Perhaps my most requested image of tree rings, obtained from a small Douglas-fir growing in the Zuni Mountains of west-central New Mexico by my colleagues Rex Adams and Chris Baisan. Not very old, but has some of the most beautiful rings of all my displays!

White Oak

Latin name:
Quercus alba

Oak cores from the Hoskins House in Greensboro, North Carolina, site of a famous battle during the Revolutionary War. The house was built from trees cut in 1811 to 1813, not cut and built in the 1780s as the historical agency had hoped.

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

This ponderosa pine once grew at El Morro National Monument in New Mexico, USA, and was cut many years ago. Once you get up close to the stump, you can see a very old scar from a fire many hundreds of years ago that scarred the tree when it only about 12 years old!

Bahamian Pine

Latin name:
Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis

We collected many cross sections of Bahamian pines that had been cut for an industrial park on the island of Abaco, but the rings are very difficult to date! Many false rings, and the pine appears to terminate tree growth during the dry season.

Longleaf Pine

Latin name:
Pinus palustris

This cross section was one of many that came from an old crib dam across a creek that was exposed after a modern dam broke in Hope Mills, North Carolina in 2003. Such sections from old-growth longleaf pines are very rare and provide information on climate back to AD 1500!

White Oak

Latin name:
Quercus alba

Sometimes you don't have to look far to find beauty in wood, and sometimes it may not be a living tree! After an oak tree was cut a year or two before this section was obtained, decay fungi had already set in, beginning to break the wood down to its basic elements.

Southwestern White Pine

Latin name:
Pinus strobiformis

I collected this fire-scarred pine on Mt. Graham in southern Arizona in fall 1991, and it remains one of the best examples of how we can determine the season of fire by looking at the position of the scar within the ring.

Bristlecone Pine

Latin name:
Pinus longaeva

Bristlecone pines have become one of the best proxy records for those who study the history of volcanic eruptions because the cool temperatures caused by these eruptions create "frost rings" that form when the cells implode from the cold.

Eastern Redcedar

Latin name:
Juniperus virginiana

Many well-preserved eastern redcedar sections have been recovered from prehistoric sites in eastern Tennessee, and they have more than enough rings to date, but we don't have a long enough living-tree reference chronology to overlap with them!

Red Oak

Latin name:
Quercus rubra

Oak is by far the most common genus we find in the many historic structures we date using tree rings in the Southeastern U.S. The genus has good ring variability and rarely has problem rings. This section came from a historic tavern in Lexington, Virginia.

Sugar Maple

Latin name:
Acer saccharum

Maple, birch, beech, and basswood are all examples of hardwood species that form diffuse porous wood, meaning that the ring contains many small-diameter vessels all through the ring. Identifying the ring boundary on this wood type is a challenge to tree-ring scientists.

Live Oak

Latin name:
Quercus virginiana

Live oak is an example of an evergreen oak, which is not common within this genus. As such, the wood is semi-ring porous and the rings are very difficult to see and date. Ring growth is also very erratic, not forming the concentric around the tree that we require.


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

These cores were collected on Mt. Graham in southern Arizona and show a major suppression event beginning in 1685 when missing rings became evident, followed by many micro-rings. This suppression was caused by a major wildfire in 1685!

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

I find it amazing what trees can record in their tree rings! Here we see a cross section of a pine that was damaged by a major flood in the year 1945 in the Chiricahua Mountains of southern Arizona. Notice the reaction wood that formed afterward.

Pignut Hickory

Latin name:
Carya glabra

Sometimes gray-scale imagery helps define tree rings when measuring. Although classified as "ring porous" species, the rather ill-defined tree rings in hickory tree species form large earlywood vessels and smaller latewoood vessels.

Subalpine Fir

Latin name:
Abies lasiocarpa

Decay has set in on the tree rings of this dead and downed subalpine fir that once grew on Apex Mountain in British Columbia, Canada, but the tree rings can still be measured and crossdated despite this!

White Fir

Latin name:
Abies concolor

We found a beautiful fire scar on this white fir that was used to build a cabin in the Valles Caldera of New Mexico. Thought to have been built in the early 1900s, we instead found the cabin was built form white fir and Douglas-fir trees cut in 1941.

Overcup Oak

Latin name:
Quercus lyrata

These oak cores were collected in northeastern Arkansas to investigate a change in the hydrologic regime of a wildlife refuge beginning in the 1990s. We found that trees at this site experienced a major disturbance event in the 1960s.

Western Juniper

Latin name:
Juniperus occidentalis

Near Frederick Butte in central Oregon, we discovered an unusual stand of western junipers that had the most unusual lobate growth forms we had ever seen. This site yielded a drought-sensitive chronology dating back to the AD 800s!

West Indies Pine

Latin name:
Pinus occidentalis

Above 3000 meters on the highest peak in the Carribean, we found an entire forest of these pines, many with fire scars, living on a steep rocky slope. The forest looked more like the dry ponderosa pine forests of the western U.S.

Whitebark Pine

Latin name:
Pinus albicaulis

Whitebark pines growing in the northern Rockies of the western U.S. can grow to be over 1,000 years old, but the species is slowly being decimated by the introduced white pine blister rust. Many of these ancient trees are now dead with ghostly white trunks.

Shagbark Hickory

Latin name:
Carya ovata

Curiously, tree-ring scientists rarely analyze some of the more common hardwood species in the eastern U.S., such as this hickory, perhaps because such forest interior trees may contain a weak climate signal necessary for crossdating.

Virginia Pine

Latin name:
Pinus virginiana

Blue stain found in many sections of dead pines (both in the western and eastern U.S.) is caused by a fungus carried by a pine beetle. The fungus spreads into the phloem and sapwood of living and dead pines, sometimes creating stunning patterns!

Pinyon Pine

Latin name:
Pinus edulis

Burned sections of pinyon pine are commonly found in archaeological sites in the southwestern U.S. These sections can be carefully broken or surfaced with a razor to reveal the ring structure inside to assist in dating the years of construction of the site.

Red Spruce

Latin name:
Picea rubens

Conifers in the highest elevations of the Appalachians of the eastern U.S., such as this red spruce, don't experience wildfires very often, but when fires do occur, they can create numerous fire scars even in this fire-intolerant species. Notice the growth release!

White Spruce

Latin name:
Picea glauca

This tree was located in the Canadian Rockies on the toe slope of an active avalanche path. The scar was created by a debris flow or snow avalanche which struck the tree, killing a section of the living tissue. The avalanche can therefore be dated to its exact year!

Engelmann Spruce

Latin name:
Picea engelmannii

I worked considerably in the spruce-fir forests of southern Arizona in my earliest years in dendrochronology, and learned that trees with limited sensitivity can provide a vast amount of information on the history of these forests.

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

The lava flows of El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico contain vast amounts of remnant wood, mostly ponderosa pines such as this sample, and the tree rings on these samples go back nearly 2000 years! Notice the year AD 1400 on this section.

Chestnut Oak

Latin name:
Quercus montana

In the southeastern U.S., hardwood species are often scarred by wildfire. Most often, this also will cause considerable decay in the sample, but this oak had several well preserved fire scars, suggesting fire was common in these drier, lower elevation sites.

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

I originally sampled this stump in 1991 for its fire scars, located in El Malpais National Monument of New Mexico. I found it again 20 years later and was happy you could still see the tree rings and fire scars clearly! It had originally been logged in the 1930s!

Lodgepole Pine

Latin name:
Pinus contorta

This pine is found at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains of the western U.S. At this site in Montana, we had thought we found fire scars on these pines, but it turns out that these are scars caused by bark beetles stripping away portions of the bark.


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

These cores illustrate the level of sensitivity to climate fluctuations in Douglas-fir trees growing in El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico. These rings show the common pattern of narrow marker rings between 1800 (on the left) and 1860 (on the right).


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

This photo shows a close-up of the rings in the previous image. The very wide tree ring is the year 1816, the "Year Without a Summer." Cooler temperatures meant more soil water for the malpais Douglas-firs, causing a wide ring for that year!

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

Dating fire scars found in the annual rings is a major application of tree-ring dating. This photo shows two scars. Notice the wider rings that formed after the upper scar, perhaps caused by removal of competing vegetation or added nutrients.

Longleaf Pine

Latin name:
Pinus palustris

Longleaf pines have the greatest ages of all the eastern pines. They grow slowly in sandy soils of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and have proven ideal for learning about past climate and disturbance events, if old-growth stands can be located!

Rocky Mountain Juniper

Latin name:
Juniperus scopulorum

The juniper species of the western U.S. have proven a challenge in tree-ring dating, but Rocky Mountain juniper has tree rings that are easily identified and can be crossdated. Just watch out for false rings and expanded latewood!


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

A close-up photo of tree rings in Douglas-fir reveals the individual wood cells that make up the xylem. These are called "tracheids." Notice the change in cell wall thickness from the earlywood cells to the latewood cells along a radial file of cells.


Latin name:
Pseudotsuga menziesii

The best trees for learning about past climate will be those that grow to great ages and are particularly sensitive to year to year changes in climate. This Douglas-fir began growing around the year 200 BC and lived for nearly 1000 years!


Latin name:
Prosopis glandulosa

Some desert species from the mid-latitudes do form annual rings, but these diffuse-porous species have rings that are difficult to see. You can use black marker and white chalk dust to help bring out the rings! The dust fills the small vessels and the rings appear!

Norway Spruce

Latin name:
Picea abies

Spruce is the preferred genus for making high-quality wooden bodies on musical instruments. This photo shows the tree rings on the outer edge of the "Messiah" violin. Analysis of its tree rings helped show that the violin was contemporary with Stradivari!

Black Locust

Latin name:
Robinia pseudoacacia

In the eastern U.S., this common hardwood species has beautiful tree rings that demonstrate the ring porous wood type. The tree species, however, has some of the densest wood found in North America and is extremely difficult to core!

White Oak

Latin name:
Quercus alba

Oak is a major genus used to build log structures in the eastern U.S. Sometimes, however, we find that the individual trees experienced some major disturbances that caused very aberrant rings, making crossdating all but impossible.

Palo Verde

Latin name:
Parkinsonia florida

A common tree species in the American Southwest, palo verde is a diffuse porous species that forms very indistinct tree rings. As a result, little tree-ring research has been performed on this genus. Best to use complete cross sections, when available.

Ponderosa Pine

Latin name:
Pinus ponderosa

A major application of tree-ring research is learning about insect populations. For example, pandora moth defoliated the needles on this tree, causing some narrow rings to be produced. We can use this pattern to learn about insect populations over many centuries!

Table Mountain Pine

Latin name:
Pinus pungens

The analysis of fire scars in tree rings can also be applied to pine species growing in the eastern U.S. Table Mountain pine has proven to be the best species in the Appalachian Mountains for learning about past wildfires!

Subalpine Fir

Latin name:
Abies lasiocarpa

Subalpine fir grows in the highest elevations of the southern Rocky Mountains and forms fairly compacent ring series. Sometime between 1979 and 1980, this tree was stripped almost completely of its bark by a black bear, but it still survived in one small area!

Florida Torreya

Latin name:
Torreya taxifolia

Perhaps the rarest conifer in the U.S., this species is on the brink of extinction because its habitat is facing mounting pressure from rapid changes in its native environment. It forms very nice tree rings, but few adult individuals are left to analyze.

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  12. "I also really like the Dendro website you made, it's very helpful for someone relatively new to the field."
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  13. "I am just beginning to understand how vast this subject is and as a novice would be grateful for some help or guidance. Your website is chock full of information and I have looked through a great deal of it, thank you for devoting so much of your time to this."
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  14. "Your web site is fantastic!"
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  16. "I’ve enjoyed visiting your website for many years and really appreciate your photos."
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  17. "I’ve just looked at your site and offer my praise and thanks. I’m impressed, very well done."
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  18. "I was extremely impressed with your dendrochronology website and do appreciate the amount of time and energy you devoted to this remarkable feat."
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  19. "I am impressed with your web site and work!"
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  20. "Congratulations for your website, it is really accurate, updated and rich of information."
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  21. "Thanks, as well, for your generous sharing of your knowledge in this area. Your website, which I’m sure is a chore to keep up, is tremendously helpful."
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  22. "I just discovered your wonderful web page!"
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  23. "I had no idea how beautiful these cross sections are. Some are breathtaking, really. Once I started looking at them I had to look at another one and another one. Beautiful."
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  24. "Congratulations for your webpage. It is great and contains a lot of information on Dendrochronology."
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  25. "I knew nothing of the subject previously save the basic definition of the word. I now think I have a good understanding of the science and the technique, which is what I needed."
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  26. "As always I enjoy your remarkable, and indeed ULTIMATE, tree-ring website! I can only imagine the work it takes to keep this up!"
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  27. "Thank you for your fantastic tree ring site! It's been so helpful to me."
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  28. "I wanted to say thank you for providing people with all this fantastic information! Thank you for taking the time to do so!"
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  29. "I love your website btw! "
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  30. "I'm a mentor at the local community center. The kids that I mentor wanted me to email you and let you know that they think your page, on trees and tree rings is very helpful!"
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  31. "It is an honor to congratulate you as the recipient of the 2014 Geographic Excellence in Media (GEM) Award from the National Council for Geographic Education for the "Science of Tree Rings" website."
    - Jacqueline Waite, Director of Educational Affairs

  32. "Thanks for putting so much effort into helping others to teach and learn (more) about dendrochronology!"
    - Julia Hjalmarsson, Sweden

  33. "Thanks for the heads-up. I really like the site – it is beautiful and informative. Congratulations on the recognition."
    - Dean Theresa M. Lee, College fo Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  34. "Congratulations, Henri! Great to see you get this level of formal recognition for your efforts with the website, which I and many others have long appreciated."
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  35. "Great news Henri!! Formal recognition is so important and I echo others here when I say it's a great resource - thank you!"
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  36. "Congratulations on being selected for the GEM award! Your website is impressive!"
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  37. "This award is overdue, but it's very reassuring to hear about the recognition!"
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  38. "Let me join the chorus - Well deserved congratulations, Henri!"
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  39. "Congratulations, Henri! It is a great resource for all of us."
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  40. "Congratulations and thank you for developing and making ever better this web resource, the go-to place for tree ring information. So glad it's there to refer to."
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  41. "Congrats, and thanks for all you do. It's a great site..."
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  42. "Well done and well deserved!"
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  43. "Congratulations, Henri, well-deserved!"
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  44. "Awesome! At last, someone in addition to us Dendros appreciates you, too!"
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  45. "Congratulations on this highly deserved award from NCGE!"
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  46. "Wow. Congratulations. This will be the best web for tree-ring science".
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  48. "Your website is great, too, lots of useful information there."
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  49. "Thank you so much for your efforts for the benefits of dendrochronologists, academicians, scientists and others."
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  50. "You have been a major inspiration to my tree ring research, and for that I am most grateful. Your astonishing tree ring site is cited and linked in the “Going Further” section of the project (under the “Investigation Protocol” Tab) at Global Lab (https://globallab.org/en/)."
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  51. "I admire your work especially your tree ring web page that we (our lab staffs and students) use almost everyday."
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  52. "I have poured over your webpage and have found it to be full of great information, so thank you for that resource!"
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  53. "Thank you for making this wonderful website and make them simple enough to understand!"
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  56. "I am currently running a small dendrochronology project with my 3rd year students and came across the lectures that you have very kindly put on-line. I would like to say a HUGE thank you for making this material available."
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  57. "I love your site. I live in New Mexico and am very interested in pinon pines and ponderosa pines."
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  58. "I came across your videos that you created which really are helpful for beginners such as me. I can tell you most of the day I am navigating though your website that you created -- it's so useful for me."
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  59. "I have just been looking at your site The Science of Tree Rings -- congratulations on this excellent resource, and thank you for creating it and making it available."
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  60. "Thank you for creating such a fantastic website with amazing photos and loads of information. I love the galleries which just wouldn't be the same without your captions on all the photos."
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  61. "I just found your website today and am dazzled beyond belief -- not only at the beautiful photography but at the lovely way you talk about the trees (and how crazy an idea it was to do the website). I'll be back."
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  62. "I visited your galleries and found some wonderful photos of tree rings... They are truly beautiful photos!"
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  63. "I would like to thank you for your website and the time you spent on it. I regularly consulted it while studying toward my MSc and PhD (which involved dendrochronology that I applied to geological hazards)."
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  64. "My children and I have been talking about how trees grow recently and we are just fascinated by dendrochronology. Thank you for your time and work in this very important science! We are fans!"
    - Hannah Rogers and Family, Massachusetts

  65. "Your website is the most comprehensive one I've seen on dendrochronology."
    - Catherine Clabby, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

  66. "The website you maintain is an awesome source of information."
    - Jim Carter, Exec. VP, Wood Quality Control, Inc.

  67. "Great web site. Thank you for maintaining your website, minimizing the gap between the "scientific" and the "interested" community."
    - Michael Hermann, Villingen, Germany

  68. "I think your page is a great resource, I use it a lot and refer people to it all the time."
    - Mick Worthington, Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

  69. "I'm writing to let you know that The Science of Tree Rings has been nominated for inclusion on a list of 99 First-Class Resources for Firefighters that we'll soon be publishing at OnlineFireScienceDegree.org."
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  70. "I would like to thank you especially for having featured DENDRO so prominently and repeatedly on your excellent dendrochronology server."
    -Ursula Higgins, Elsevier Publishing

  71. "I just want to thank you very much for the careful explanations you have given of all the stages of Dendrochronology. You have made it clear enough for even a leek like me to understand. I have just started looking at everything available on your site and must add that besides finding it extremely fascinating, I am also learning something entirely new. I have always loved trees of every kind and shape, but will find them even more spectacular after this new find. Be blessed in all you do. Thank you for loving trees."
    - Eunice Oerder, South Africa.

  72. "As a professional forester and "wannabe" dendrochronologist, I enjoyed recently perusing your website with the numerous galleries of tree cross sections from everywhere. Thanks for an enjoyable set of very, very interesting cross section photos!"
    - Ed Lewis, Alabama

  73. "Henri, your web site is exceptional."
    - Peter Sandbeck, North Carolina

  74. "Congratulations Henri on this latest iteration of your fabulous tree-ring web pages! I have just started browsing, and the site is beautiful! Huge thanks to you for this latest in a long line of great contributions to our community. Your pages have been and will continue to be a fantastic resource for beginners and old timers alike."
    - Tom Swetnam, via Facebook

  75. "You should, and will, go down in scientific history for the help you have given us Dendrochronologists as we developed."
    - Tom Maertens, via Facebook

  76. "Thanks so much for the tremendous amount of work you've undertaken, Henri!"
    - Elaine Kennedy-Sutherland, via Facebook

  77. "The old website was a fantastic resource. I am so glad you created it. I look forward to the new look Science of Tree Rings Site."
    - Edward Frank, via Facebook

  78. "I stumbled across your web site today while doing some indirectly related internet research. Very impressive work and beautifully laid out. Your site is impressive and something that many of us out here do find very interesting."
    - Statler Gilfillen, Hillsborough, North Carolina

  79. "All your efforts (i.e. website, online lectures, etc.) are greatly appreciated by the dendrochronology community."
    - Robert Morrisey, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

  80. "I found your contact information from the Ultimate tree ring web site that you have created. First I wanted to thank you, the tree coring tips that you provided helped save my lab group and I a significant amount of time and aggravation in a stand reconstruction project that we were working on last summer."
    - Kevin Vogler, Oregon State University

  81. "Your work on your wonderful web page is stupendous! It's been a real help already."
    - James Capshew, History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University

  82. "Your website has a very pretty design! Trust me on that. I have a very good sense of aesthetics."
    - Kumar Mainali, Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin

  83. "I saw your Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages site and was hoping you might be able to suggest sites and activities geared for younger students. I teach classes at all grade levels kindergarten through 8th. Thank you for any assistance you can provide -- your site has been a great first step for me."
    - Stephen Baer, Orange, New Jersey

  84. "I found your wonderful web-site while searching for examples of tree cross sections to show a den of Webelos Cub Scouts in Long Beach, California. Great job on that web site!"
    - Jeff Reith, Long Beach, California

  85. "Thanks for maintaining and developing such a wonderful resource for the community."
    - Michelle Goman, Department of Geography and Global Studies, Sonoma State University

  86. "Thanks for the help and great website, it's very interesting for me!
    - Thomas Guiset, Belgium

  87. "Your website is an incredibly useful tool in itself, and you have my sincere thanks for making it available to everyone."
    - Nathan English, James Cook University, Australia

  88. "I visited your dendrochronology website and was impressed with the amount of information there is on the subject."
    - Zac Wehrmann

  89. "I am an absolute fan of your web on dendro and I think it's one of the best tools to disseminate this science."
    - Jesus Julio Camarero Martinez, Zaragoza, Spain

  90. "Your web pages help us as a resource of tree-ring research."
    - Minoru Inoue, Terra-Tech, Inc., Tokyo, Japan

  91. "I would like to use portions of your wonderful Dendrochronology lecture programs in a single power point I am preparing for a class called Monitoring Forest Health. Thank you for sharing this delightful and informative series of lectures."
    - Martha Carlson, University of New Hampshire

  92. "Your web site is absolutely, truly amazing and inspiring."
    - Sonny Harris

  93. "Your resource regarding tree ring information is great! I am teacher that runs an after school environmental program. The program encourages kids to be innovative and creative while learning about the environment and how we can help to make it better. I wanted to thank you for having such a great page. I am compiling a list of resources in different subjects regarding the environment for the kids to learn and explore on their own."
    - Linda Anderson, Delaware

  94. "Terrific website! I've just begun reading and exploring. Thanks for creating it!"
    - Jeffrey Weatherford, Materials Conservation, Eastern Michigan University

  95. "First of all, thank you for the web pages with a huge mass of information for fans and workers on Dendrochronology."
    - Gudrun Hofer, Germany

  96. "I like your website! The sparkle trail behind the cursor was unexpected and delightful and so was the music. I've figured out how to control the music. It's a very nice feature."
    - Joanne Ballard, New Albany, Indiana

  97. "I have gone through parts of the incredible "The Ultimate Tree-Ring Web Pages" website and found some things that look very interesting."
    - Kristen Hall, Jennifer Barry Design

  98. "I just wanted to write and tell you thank you for taking the time to put together the most interesting web page that I've seen in a long time! It is fascinating."
    - Vicki

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