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Remarkable Trees of Virginia

Did you receive a tree book as a holiday gift? Were you lucky enough to receive Remarkable Trees of Virginia? Written by Nancy Ross Hugo and Jeff Kirwan, Remarkable Trees is a coffee-table sized book published by Albemarle Books in the fall of 2008. There are approximately 100 trees featured with beautiful photos and readable commentary. Trees of the Charlottesville area include a white oak in Nelson County, a blackgum in Greene County, and a gingko on UVA’s lawn. Photos of the magnificent trees of some height and age are depicted in a variety of “poses.” Impressive trunks illustrate some trees; other tree views show an incredible canopy. Some trees are leafless; others have children in them such as the red mulberry at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. The photos are a feast for the eyes by the award-winning photographer and Albemarle County resident, Robert Lllewellyn. The text accompanying each featured tree is informational and appropriate. Whether one reads the book straight through or wanders through it randomly, Remarkable Trees will not disappoint. It is a valuable product that grew out of the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project of 2004. Anyone who intends to make a pilgrimage to see even a few of the trees named in the book will have a marvelous and worthwhile tree excursion.

What Tree is That?

A guide to the more common trees found in North America by Arbor Day Foundation, with Illustrations by Karina Helm. Published April 2009. 169 Pages $14.95
If you are looking for an easy-to-use, beautifully illustrated field guide that will help you identify the most common North American trees, then look no further. What Tree is That?published in 2009 by the Arbor Day Foundation is the book for you!  The keyed guide starts out by defining the words you need to know (alter­nate, deciduous, pinnate, etc.) to identify a tree. Next, the guide leads you through a series of simple, well-defined ques­tions about the leaves, bark, or fruit of the tree in question. Each answer leads to another question until the tree is identified. The 250 entries in the guide include a realistic, color illustration of the tree’s leaves or needles with their cones, flowers, or nuts, as well as the tree’s common name, scientific name, and the hardiness zone where the tree grows. The 8.5?x4? field guide also has a 7? ruler printed on its water-resistant cover for measuring leaves and petioles!  —LY

Keepers of  the Trees

Keepers of the Trees by Ann Linnea is a book describing 14 people across America who do various projects with or about trees. Planting, pruning, carving, careful timbering and organizing communities are topics included. It’s inspiring to read about people who make a difference in the world of trees. There’s a section on the individuals working on woolly adelgids in the Smokies. The Big Tree Hunter, Will Blozan is an acquaintance of mine. The writing is at times long winded, but you can pick the book up from the Tree Steward library at DOF. I’m donating a copy. I feel like we have a book’s worth of tree experts and keepers here in the Charlottesville area that I’ve listened to through Tree Stewards!   -RH

The Wild Trees

The Wild Trees is a book all tree lovers should read. It is a page turner. It straddles nonfiction and fiction by not only having fascinating information about the natural world, but also character development, describing heroes among the living! Steve Sillett and friends explore a surprising frontier with new technology, and discover life in the tallest treetops. Richard Preston, the author, learned how to use tree climbing gear and participated in the adventure. This can only be topped by our own Nick Nichols photographing some of the same trees for National Geographic afterwards. -RH


Teaching the Trees from Lessons of the Forest

Joan Maloof’s first book is a testament to trees. Her passion, and ours, can be recognized in the dedication of this small gem, “For all humans who speak up to defend the living things that have no voice,” as well as her first sentence “I am trusting that you love trees.” This is a person who cares deeply about trees. But it is also a story about the ecological web of life—the plant, animal, bird and insect communities that surround these trees and assure their survival. Joan Maloof is a professor of biology and environmental studies at Salisbury University in Maryland. In this book she has managed to successfully combine her love of science with pure poetry regarding all things arboreal, resulting in a very eloquent and enjoyable book. After a general introduction to Treehugging 101, Ms Maloof brings us to a number of individual species of trees on a personal, perhaps even spiritual level, by dedicating a chapter to each of the better known deciduous and conifer trees of the eastern forest. There are a number of old friends you will be glad to visit and view perhaps through a new perspective, learn new details about, or just enjoy through your own familiarity with and knowledge of these trees. (The University of Georgia Press, 2005)?MM

History of the Montpelier Landmark Forest: Human Disturbance and Forest Recovery

The most memorable and appreciated class of the CATS training program has been Tom Dierauf’s field trip to the Ivy Creek Natural Area where from his uncanny ability to read the landscape he reveals the fascinating history of the forest. In the just completed 75-page enjoyable-to-read report about the Montpelier Landmark Forest he has also applied his mastery of the many complex factors that determine the forest’s present condition and future. The talents of several other highly regarded experts were also utilized in this assessment that was requested by the Montpelier Foundation in August 2008. This report provides detailed findings from research of historic records and clues found by closely examining trees (downed trees in particular) as well as other factors influencing growing conditions. The many photographs (Tony Russell credited as being primary contributor) clearly show in particular the process of cross-sectioning downed trees. For the 76 trees analyzed most were naturally downed trees, while only a few were standing trees increment cored. From tree ring samples and measurements we’re provided with estimates of each tree’s date of establishment (the oldest dates to 1670), rate of growth, diameter, and changes the tree’s ring pattern reveal about significant events that have affected the tree’s growth.   -PS

Red Oaks and Black Birches, the Science and Lore of Trees

I have read this book twice and wish I remembered every word. It told me just what I want to know about trees in a delightful storytelling style. Each chapter takes on a different genus of tree and tells you what is special about that type of tree with many stories illustrating it.  She tells what made and still makes certain species so important commercially while weaving in a little bit of physiology or strange properties that that type of tree supposedly had. For instance she talks about a park ranger who has been hit by lightning seven times and lived to tell about it.  She then goes on to tell us that oaks are hit by lightning more than any other type of tree and explains the structure of an oak showing how it is a little bit different from that of other trees and hence, is vulnerable to lightning. Or that 15 men on horseback once crammed into a hollow sycamore like fraternity boys used to cram into telephone booths. This is the perfect book for a tree steward to read. (Pownal, VT, Storey Communications, Inc  1990) -NW

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

As an educator, mom, grandmother and advocate for all children, Richard Louv’s book is an outstanding resource for those of us concerned about obesity, depression and attention deficit disorder problems in our children today. Richard Louv, recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal, inspires people of all ages to talk about the importance of nature in their lives and offers new and updated research confirming that direct exposure to nature is essential for the physical and emotional health of all of us. Because of interest shifting “inside” to gadgets needing electrical sockets, and other cultural changes, children (and adults) are missing out on the healing and restorative powers of nature. Louv’s website offers 100 ways to get children and families back into nature, preserving our green space in urban and rural areas, and inspires dialogue among conservationists, educators, parents, health professionals and developers. A very interesting read and perhaps confirms what we, as tree huggers, instinctively “know”. –Ann Lynch

The Man who Planted Trees, Lost Groves, Champion Trees and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet

I’d like to recommend this book to all Tree Stewards. I’m giving a copy of the book to our library. Jim Robbins is a contributor to the NY Times, Discovery and other publications. His book describes his own tree die off in Colorado, and the discovery of a man named David Milarch. Milarch had a near death experience and has since devoted his life to cloning champion trees, and planting them around the world. Many of the ideas in the book are scientific. Some are not. All is quite stirring and Robbins is pretty careful about data. He’s quick to point out demographics that have known sources. He is quite right that trees get little science and engineering research projects, despite the sense of environmental crisis we face currently. I put the book down awhile after reading a billion trees died in the Amazon in 2005. High winds toppled trees stressed from an El Nino drought down there. Some of the info is hard to read. Bill Emory loved the book so I picked it back up and sure enough, there is plenty of positive information to balance out the disturbing. The book is very well written. I looked at the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive website and it has been “under construction” since June. The entries include a talk by Ted Talk Milarch in 2011. I don’t know what is going on with that group currently.–Robin Hanes

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