The songs of trees: Stories from nature's great connectors
David Haskell has won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. In this talk he will describe how he has integrated contemplative, literary, and scientific studies of the natural world. What might we learn by paying repeated attention to very small parts of our neighborhoods or forests? David has explored this question by returning again and again to the same one-square-meter of old growth forest in Tennessee, then by repeatedly visiting individual trees in locations around the world. These explorations reveal the biological connections that sustain all life, in places as diverse as cities (Manhattan, Denver, Jerusalem), forests (in the Amazon, Rockies, and boreal) and areas on the front lines of environmental change (eroding coastlines, burned mountainsides, and conflict zones). In each place Haskell shows how human history, ecology, and well-being are intimately intertwined with the lives of forests and trees. In a world beset by barriers, Haskell reminds us that life's substance and beauty emerge from relationship and interdependence.
About the presenter:
David Haskell's work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. His book, The Forest Unseen, was the recipient of numerous honors including the National Academies' Best Book Award for 2013 and finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. The book has been translated into ten languages. Haskell's second book, The Songs of Trees, examines biological networks through the lives of a dozen trees around the world. Haskell is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and he is a 2014-2015 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups. Haskell's classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine action in the community with contemplative practice. In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee. In addition to his books, he has published scientific papers, essays, poems, and op-eds.