Happy Arbor Day, Shorewood! We know the Village is full of beautiful trees waiting to blossom and bloom so we’re going to get you ready with some titles to that will help you learn more about the world we live. And when it warms up, don’t forget about the Village’s own walking tour of Shorewood’s Most Distinguished Trees.
Climbing some of the tallest trees in the world, Richard Preston takes us to the top of some of California’s coastal redwoods. Reaching over three hundred feet tall, some Sequoioideae are over 3,000 years old and support ecosystems- including plants such as ferns and lichens as well as animals like voles and salamanders- that most of us will never see. Teaming up with botanist Steve Sillett and his wife Marie Antoine, Preston learns to climb such a gigantic forest, giving readers a first-hand perspective of why trees are a critical component of our ecosystem as well as our need to preserve and study them. While most of the locations featured in Preston’s eleven-city tour remain a secret, the splendor, significance, and beauty of the giant redwoods is well-related through The Wild Trees.
Well-known by birders for his comprehensive book The Sibley Guide to Birds, David Sibley also offers a companion field guide of trees. Full of detailed paintings, illustrations, and maps, The Sibley Guide to Trees features 600 North American species with meticulously drawn renderings of bark, leaves, buds, needles, cones, flowers, fruits, twigs, and silhouettes to assist with identification. Organized taxonomically rather than by physical features, Sibley’s guide illustrates the similarities and distinctions between tree families and species while providing brief, easy to read descriptions. This resource also shows the life cycles of trees as well as provides essays on conservation, preservation, and environmental health. While The Sibley Guide to Trees is a big book, it is still portable and will help both beginner and expert arborists identify the beautiful trees that populate our earth.
While The Sibley Guide to Trees is a definitive source for tree identification, Stan Tekiela’s Trees of Wisconsin provides a condensed guide of 101 trees found in only Wisconsin. Without having to flip through an assortment of trees that inhabit various locations throughout North America, this introductory resource provides quick, easy-to-use information including family names, heights, leaf shapes, type of barks, flowers, fruits, fall colors, origins, habitats, and ranges. Complete with full-page color photographs, Tekiela also throws in interesting facts about that will help you remember the woody plant you’ve just identified. Best of all, Trees of Wisconsin is handy and portable- small, compact, and lightweight, Tekiela’s quick reference book is perfect for city walks or forest hikes because it will fit in your pocket.
Primatologist Jane Goodall has another important conservation concern beyond the primates she studied for so many years: the green world that we inhabit. Reflecting on the giant beech tree that comforted her at her grandmother’s English country home to the forests of Gombe that nurture the chimpanzees she researched, Goodall shares her thoughts about plants and trees. From seeds, photosynthesis, seed dispersal, pollination, defense mechanisms, and communication, Seeds of Hope highlights the importance of vegetation from the meditative powers of gardening to the magic of trees. While Seeds of Hope is not exclusive to trees, it does express the critical role that forests and flora play in our world. Goodall expresses her concerns about genetically modified crops and deforestation with the hope that we can make a difference before it’s too late.