Video: Discovering the World's Largest Pine Tree

A touching short film by Gathering Growth, an organization documenting America’s Champion Trees—the largest of their species


In just a few minutes this touching new film captures the story of California-based Big Tree Hunter Carl Casey and his discovery of a new Champion Sugar Pine in California—the largest known pine tree in the world. In recent years all four pines to previously hold the title have died, due to drought, pine bark beetle, and other natural and manmade scourges.

Roughly three years after Casey’s find was officially crowned the National Champion Sugar Pine, New York-based photographer and filmmaker and Gathering Growth Foundation founder Brian Kelley was able to meet with Casey and tell his story,

As for Kelley’s story, and how he came to found a foundation similarly focused on big trees, read on below.

"These trees deserve to have their legacies be preserved—to have people know they exist.”



“Olympic National Park was the first time I saw really big trees,” Kelley tells us, “the ones you can’t really comprehend.” The moment lead him to start a life long personal project called Gathering Growth, focused on documenting America’s Champion Trees—the largest of their species. The project has since grown into a proper foundation with an expanded interest in more than just champion trees, but forests of all kind and other trees of significance.

The goal remains the same though: to inspire and inform the public on the necessities of forest preservation and the importance of trees in our everyday lives.

“I think these trees deserve to have their legacies be preserved at the highest quality," Kelley continues, "to have people know they exist.”

If this film hit home and you'd like to support the ongoing efforts of Gathering Growth Foundation, the organization is now accepting donations.


Related articles
Q&A: How a Self-Taught Woodworker Built a DIY Cabin in 55 Days
How a Self-Taught Woodworker Built a Cabin During Lockdown for Under $13,000

Filmmaker Graeme Jenvey discusses his $13k backyard cabin build, shares advice for fellow builders, and reflects on lessons learned

In Australia, Three Shipping Containers Form an Off-Grid Holiday Home
In Australia, Three Shipping Containers Combine to Form a Modern Holiday Home

The subject of a new film series by Shelter streaming service, this clever private getaway pushes design constraints to the limits in coastal Victoria

How to Hop Trains to Montana During a Pandemic, on Super 8 Film
Video: A Super 8 Film of Train Hopping Across the American West

Three friends, unemployed because of COVID-19, embrace the Great Depression-era practice of illegally riding rails in search of adventure

Q&A: District Vision Co-Founder Max Vallot on Running & Meditation
District Vision Founder Max Vallot on Running, Mindfulness & Social Media

An inspiring conversation with the fashion exec turned mindful athlete on how to stay centered and balanced amid a culture of noise

4 Animated Series (and 1 Manga) that Celebrate the Great Outdoors
Find Adventure At Home With These 5 Animated Series that Celebrate the Great Outdoors

Escape to other worlds of illustrated adventure offering wit, heart, and sprawling landscapes, in under 30 min

Go.Go.Go: Skiing, Surfing, a Super 8 Camera, and Micro RV in Japan
Video: Super 8 Film Documents an Epic Ski & Surf Road Trip Through Japan by RV

Pro skiers Callum Pettit & Mike Henitiuk roam the South Island in a micro RV to ski, surf, and explore in new short film

More articles
Video: Discovering the World's Largest Pine Tree

Gallery Mode


Brian Kelley

Back to article
☮️ Welcome to Field Mag

Get the best new gear, dreamy cabins, and epic adventure photography delivered to your inbox each week with Field Mag newsletters

Click Here to Subscribe
☮️  Welcome to Field Mag