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Ten eBooks to Read This Arbor Day

Trees—they clean our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities, and feed the human soul.

The first American Arbor Day was established Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton—but Connecticut had its role to play. Connecticut native Birdsey Northrop was responsible for globalizing the holiday, as the Chairman of the American Forestry Association committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He brought his enthusiasm for Arbor Day to Japan, Australia, Canada, and Europe.

If you’d like to celebrate Arbor Day by planting a tree, whether it’s in your back yard or in a National Forest, the Arbor Day Foundation is a great place to get started. You can even have a tree planted as a gift, or in memory of a loved one.

Happy Arbor Day, and happy reading!

The Hidden Life of Trees Book Cover

The Hidden Life of Trees

Peter Wohlleben
Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group. Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him.

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Brilliant Green Book Cover

Brilliant Green

Stefano Mancuso, Alessandra Viola
Are plants intelligent? Can they solve problems, communicate, and navigate their surroundings? Or are they passive, incapable of independent action or social behavior? Philosophers and scientists have pondered these questions since ancient Greece, most often concluding that plants are unthinking and inert: they are too silent, too sedentary — just too different from us. Yet discoveries over the past fifty years have challenged these ideas, shedding new light on the extraordinary capabilities and complex interior lives of plants.

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Wise Trees Book Cover

Wise Trees

Diane Cook, Len Jenshel
A stunning photography book containing more than 50 historical trees with remarkable stories from around the world. Not only do trees provide us with the oxygen we breathe, food gathered from their branches, and wood for both fuel and shelter, but they have been essential to the spiritual and cultural life of civilizations around the world.

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Teaching the Trees Book Cover

Teaching the Trees

Joan Maloof
In this collection of natural-history essays, biologist Joan Maloof embarks on a series of lively, fact-filled expeditions into forests of the eastern United States. Through Maloof’s engaging, conversational style, each essay offers a lesson in stewardship as it explores the interwoven connections between a tree species and the animals and insects whose lives depend on it-and who, in turn, work to ensure the tree’s survival.

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The Wisdom of Trees Book Cover

The Wisdom of Trees

Max Adams
A passionate and informative celebration of trees and of man’s ingenuity in exploiting their resources: the perfect gift for anyone who cares about the natural world. Trees are marvels of nature, still standing giants of extraordinary longevity. In a beautifully written sequence of essays, anecdotes and profiles of Britain’s best loved species (from yew to scots pine), Max Adams explores both the amazing biology of trees and humanity’s relationship with wood and forest across the centuries.

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The Green Thoreau Book Cover

The Green Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau, Carol Spenard LaRusso
Henry David Thoreau saw nature as teacher and companion, and many of his philosophies guide the contemporary environmental movement. What Thoreau wrote about simplicity, materialism, technology, and our troubled relationship with nature is perhaps even more relevant to our lives today than it was in the nineteenth century. In these pages, editor Carol Spenard LaRusso presents quotations by Thoreau on nature, technology, livelihood, living, possessions, time, diet and food, and aspiration. At turns passionate, funny, and profound, this collection serves as a compelling introduction – or vivid reminder – of why Thoreau is one of America’s iconoclastic greats.

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Nature's Temples Book Cover

Nature’s Temples

Joan Maloof
An old-growth forest is one that has formed naturally over a long period of time with little or no disturbance from humankind. They are increasingly rare and largely misunderstood. In Nature’s Temples, Joan Maloof, the director of the Old-Growth Forest Network, makes a heartfelt and passionate case for their importance. This evocative and accessible narrative defines old-growth and provides a brief history of forests. It offers a rare view into how the life-forms in an ancient, undisturbed forest-including not only its majestic trees but also its insects, plant life, fungi, and mammals-differ from the life-forms in a forest manipulated by humans. What emerges is a portrait of a beautiful, intricate, and fragile ecosystem that now exists only in scattered fragments.

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Tree: A Life Story Book Cover

Tree: A Life Story

David Suzuki, Wayne Grady
The story of a single tree, from the moment the seed is released from its cone until, more than five hundred years later, it lies on the forest floor as a nurse log, giving life to ferns, mosses, and hemlocks, even as its own life is ending. In this unique biography, David Suzuki and Wayne Grady tell story that spans a millennium and includes a cast of millions but focuses on a single tree, a Douglas fir, Tree describes in poetic detail the organism’s modest origins that begin with a dramatic burst of millions of microscopic grains of pollen.

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Big Lonely Doug Book Cover

Big Lonely Doug

Harley Rustad
When fallers arrived, every wiry cedar, every droopy-topped hemlock, every great fir was cut down and hauled away – all except one. The solitary tree stood quietly in the clear cut until activist and photographer T. J. Watt stumbled upon the Douglas fir while searching for big trees for the Ancient Forest Alliance, an environmental organization fighting to protect British Columbia’s dwindling old-growth forests. The single Douglas fir exemplified their cause: the grandeur of these trees juxtaposed with their plight. They gave it a name: Big Lonely Doug.

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Your Guide to Forest Bathing Book Cover

Your Guide to Forest Bathing

M. Amos Clifford
Simply being present in the natural world – with all our senses fully alive – can have a remarkably healing effect. It can also awaken in us our latent but profound connection with all living things. This is “forest bathing”, a practice inspired by the Japanese tradition of shinrin-yoku. It is a gentle, meditative approach to being with nature and an antidote to our nature-starved lives that can heal our relationship with the more-than-human world.

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