N.H. Forester Says Manchester Airport Has The Wrong State Tree | New Hampshire Public Radio

N.H. Forester Says Manchester Airport Has The Wrong State Tree

Nov 13, 2018

The trees on the pillar just past security in Manchester's airport are labeled as the state tree, white birch, but one forester says they're actually quaking aspen.
Credit Courtesy Charlie Niebling

UPDATE: An airport spokeswoman tells NHPR, "We will be updating the plaque to highlight the beauty of NH forests in Jefferson, NH." The original story continues below here.

A New Hampshire forester says Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is barking up the wrong tree in a big photo display near security.

Charlie Niebling of Antrim-based Innovative Natural Resource Solutions says he first noticed the mix-up this past summer.

He went through security at the airport and saw a big round column covered in a photo of trees with round, light-green leaves and papery white bark.

"And I looked at them and I said, 'Boy, I bet they think they're birch trees, but they're not,'” he says. “So I went over to the plaque, and sure enough the plaque says, 'New Hampshire's state tree, white birch.'

“And they're not birch trees,” he says. “They're quaking aspens."

Niebling says it’s an easy mistake to make. The trees have only subtle differences – aspens' leaves are a different shape, and their bark doesn’t peel like birches' bark does.

But he’s concerned the mistake is in a highly visible spot that's a gateway for tourists.

"We're justly proud of our state tree in New Hampshire,” he says. “They've got it misidentified and they need to fix it."

Niebling says he told the airport about his concerns back in June, but as of this week, nothing had changed.

“Based on Mr. Niebling’s comment, we are looking into this,” says airport spokeswoman Cheryl Paiva. “Once we have confirmation on the identity of the tree in the photo we will determine next steps.”