Monday, February 21, 2011

Celebrating trees

“Describe characteristics of trees and the interaction of trees with other living things in the local environment.”
--from: Alberta Education, Program of Studies, Science: Grade 6, p.B-33.

The above statement is one of the general learner expectations as set out by the Alberta government for grade 6 students. 

Can’t you feel your heart start to pound with excitement?  Like this – not so much.  But then again, maybe you’re someone who doesn’t see trees as being very exciting anyways.  It’s so easy to take trees for granted and it can be difficult to see how important and vital trees are to the good health of the planet.  Cosmic thought, man…

But in prepping for a workshop where the above learner expectation was used as a starting point to introduce education students to diverse resources, I discovered masses of interesting, really interesting stuff about trees. Admittedly, I had to go looking for some of it outside the Doucette Library’s collection and bring it in, but still…

 And what I found is my latest favorite ‘coffee table’-type book called The Life and Love of Trees by Lewis Blackwell (582.16 BlL 2009).  It is filled with spectacular photographs of trees and forests from around the world, photographed from varying angles and showing seasonal variations. It contains,thoughtful quotes from deep thinking people, and tons of information about the science of trees, the aesthetics of trees and the state of the world’s forests.

Find out what a dendronaut is (p.30), or how big and old a single, living colony of genetically alike trees is (this is very cool, p.36), or just how nasty and ‘evil’ trees can be as they protract the torturous demise of competing plants (think strangler fig, p.144).  The author has created a certain amount of drama (besides the all the beautiful aspects) as he’s designed the book.  Like a meandering, diverting and speculative walk through a forest.

This book takes time.  Not as long as it takes a sequoia takes to reach maturity maybe, but certainly time enough to really enjoy the gentle tempo set by Lewis Blackwell.


Roberta said...

This books looks absolutely spectacular, but then I am fond of trees. Thanks for highlighting it.

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