George W. Bush & the Giant Butternut:
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An American Pioneer

The story of George Washington Bush as an early pioneer, who led wagon trains of families from Missouri to settle in the western territories of what would become the states of Oregon and Washington, is both compelling and reflects the spirit of westward expansion. Along with Michael T. Simmons, who founded the town of Tumwater, in the South Puget Sound area, George Washington Bush staked out a claim to farm on 640 acres even though the British Hudson's Bay Company had been discouraging settlers in the region. Tumwater was the first permanent American settlement in the territory.

To learn more about this early American pioneer and his role in settling Washington State, we recommend the following web articles:

George Washington Bush & the Giant Butternut (by the Burnt Ridge Nursery & Orchards, Inc.)

George Washington Bush and the Human Spirit of Westward (from The Museum Gazette by the National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial)

The Bush Prairie Farm

Wikipedia: George Washington Bush

The Giant Butternut

The original George W. Bush farm, now called the Bush Prairie Farm, is the site of what may be the oldest living butternut tree in the world at 167+ years. And unlike some hybrid strains back east that were created to deal with the deadly Butternut canker fungal disease, this giant butternut tree is a pure strain, which is extremely valuable to preserving and managing the genetic integrity of the remaining butternut trees in North America.

Aerial View of Bush Prairie Farm

Unfortunately, this huge tree sits in the flight path to the Olympia Airport and was "topped" and poorly pruned about 50 years ago. Conservation efforts are underway to save offshoots from this tree, which is what we will try to do by planting several small butternut trees in the WSU Arboretum & Wildlife Conservation Center that originate from this giant butternut.

The Giant Butternut Tree cropped
To learn more about the butternut tree planting in the WSU Arboretum and how you may help conserve this and other trees of historical interest to Washington State, please use the "Contact the AWCC" link below to send an email inquiry to Dr. Rod Sayler, Project Director. To learn more about our studies in restoration ecology, wildlife ecology, environmental education, and conservation, please see our science blog: Nature @ WSU.