Tree Reads for Summer

By Canopy Team on June 5, 2017

For the tree-hugger, nature-lover, and bookworm alike, three new titles offer fascinating journeys through the wonderful world of plants and nature, both far and near:


Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, The Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness

By Nathanael Johnson

In an increasingly urbanized world, Nathanael Johnson has set out to remind city dwellers: “There’s wilderness all around us, just waiting to be seen.”

In his new book, Unseen City, Johnson recounts his own journey learning to notice and explore the secrets of nature hidden in plain sight on the streets of San Francisco, where he lives. In a delightful jaunt that is part nature journal and part ode to urban ecosystems, he opens a space where readers can pause, observe, and explore their surroundings with new eyes. The view is fascinating and, Johnson argues, has the power to transform both our lives and our world.

Learn more on Nathanael Johnson’s website, or read an excerpt of “Unseen City” published in Bay Nature magazine.


The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

By Florence Williams

Florence Williams spent her youth soaking up the sights and sounds of mountain peaks and wild forests in Colorado and Montana. When she moved to Washington D.C., however, her “daily dose of nature” was no longer a given, and she began to feel the physical and psychological strain of living in an urban concrete jungle.

Our brain, as Williams learned, is wired for nature. Natural environments reduce our stress, boost our mood, and restore our brains and bodies in ways that scientists are still learning to understand.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a trip up a mountain to reap these benefits. Florence’s new book, The Nature Fix, explores the myriad ways that even a small dose of nature benefits of our brain and spurs our creativity.

Read Florence Williams piece in Time about how 15 minutes in nature can make you happier…

Read more on Williams’ website…


The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors

By David George Haskell

When David George Haskell looks around a forest, he doesn’t see individual trees; he sees a community, a network of interconnected organisms that shape one another through relationship, communication, conflict, and cooperation.

Even within a single tree, Haskell sees a network. According to Haskell:

“A ‘maple’ is not an individual made of plant cells, but a community of cells from many domains and kingdoms of life. Microbe-free plants likely do not exist in nature and, if they could be constructed, would quickly die for want of the vital connections that sustain life.”

To explore and reveal these connections, Haskell observes a dozen trees around the globe, visiting each tree repeatedly and, as he says, listening to their song:

“…my method at each tree was simple,” writes Haskell. “I sat, listened to each tree and its many neighbors, and tried to attend to the many songs wrapped into and around each tree. What is a tree song? The many harmonies, discords, and relationships — ecological, cultural, physiological, evolutionary — that give a tree its life. Through these masters of connection, we learn something of the networks that give life its substance and beauty.

Read more from Haskell’s website…

Read Haskell’s commentary featured on NPR…


For more tree reads, check out our favorites from last fall…



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