trees Archives - West Wind Hardwood
Earth Day Fake News by Shelley

Earth Day Fake News by Shelley

Making The Most of Easter Weekend

Great Way to Celebrate Earth Day!

FAKE NEWS BY SHELLEY | FACT-CHECKING THE FACT-CHECKERS

Remember April is Fool’s Month, and we mustn’t take ourselves too seriously.  As well, Earth Day is intended to bring attention to the importance of protecting our environment, treating Earth respectfully and demonstrating the courage of our convictions.

I hope this brings a chuckle to your day.  And I would love to hear back from our readers.  Tell us if your fact-checkers recognize the truth of these photos. 

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The Dark Web of Mycorrhizal Networks

The Dark Web of Mycorrhizal Networks

Dr. Suzanne Simard has proven trees communicate. Dr. Simard is a professor of forest ecology; teaching at the University of BC (UBC). As a biologist, she has tested theories about how trees communicate with other trees. Currently, she involved with the Mother Tree project investigating forest renewal practices that will protect biodiversity, carbon storage and forest regeneration in our changing climate.

Mother trees are the largest trees in forests that act as central hubs for vast below-ground mycorrhizal networks. A mother tree supports seedlings by infecting them with fungi and supplying them with the nutrients they need to grow.

Research has shown that beneath every forest and wood there is a complex underground web of roots, fungi and bacteria helping to connect trees and plants to one another. Scientists have now nicknamed this network “the wood-wide web” in its very similar structure to the internet. This web is a highway of information for forests to communicate, cooperate, warn and share with each other.

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A Tree in a Forest

A Tree in a Forest

Book and Illustrations by Jan Thornhill

Every Christmas our daughters received a book from Santa or from his family and friends.  In 1992, our youngest received a book from Rudolf entitled A Tree in a Forest by Jan Thornhill.

It’s a wonderful little book, and an excellent life-cycle read-aloud for families and ecology units if you’re in the education system.  It’s an award-winning life of a tree book beginning with a maple seedling emerging from an old fallen log in 1763.  It follows its life for 2,010 years until finally, too weak to stand, it falls to the forest floor, starting the nurturing cycle all over again.

Gloriously illustrated book, I so desperately wanted to share some of Jan’s illustrations.  I reached out to Jan about a month ago to formally ask her approval and never heard back, so I hope she has no problem with my gentle sharing of her delightful children’s book.  Please visit her website and learn about her other books, awards and honours.  The accolades are well deserved!!

Here is an excerpt from the opening:

“Every forest is an amazing community of living things — of green plants and brilliant mushrooms, of nibbling deer and daring birds, of insects and spiders and tiny bacteria.  Each animal and plant relies in its own special way on the trees of the forest.
Trees are the biggest plants on Earth.  Their long winding roots help to hold fertile soil to the ground.  Their leaves clean and enrich the air we breathe.  They nourish and shelter and protect all kinds of other living things.
From the instant its life begins, every tree in every forest has its own special story to tell.  This is one story — the story of a maple tree.  its life begins more than two hundred years ago, long before your great-great-great-grandparents were ever born”.

Enjoy this photo essay and reach out to Jan Thornhill.  Do yourself or someone you know a favour and buy one of her books.  They are available through her website. Better yet, donate a book to your local school or library!

Lessons from the Pine Tree

In these unprecedented times, the world has been brought to its knees. And while you may be sitting by yourself in your home reading my newsletter, we’re all in this together, and the only certain thing we know is that we are not alone.

The West Wind community offers a virtual gathering place for everyone aligned in their common passion for wood and the natural world of forests.  This world is culturally rich and ecologically restorative.

I felt a look into what our natural world offers would be a critical reminder that we will collectively overcome just such crises.  Let’s take the opportunity to appreciate our forests’ healing power.  While many of us are responsibly avoiding unnecessary public travel or self-isolating, listening to recorded bird songs, babbling brooks or rainfall is proven to relax the mind and reduce stress.

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The Gloucester Tree of Australia

The Gloucester Tree of Australia

One of Three Lookout Trees in Western Australia

All Photos by Shelley Nielsen unless otherwise noted – January 2016
An expansion on Newsletter #63 – April 2016

The Gloucester, Diamond and Dave Evans Bicentennial Trees form a triangle around Pemberton; used as fire lookout trees for decades.  These are no humdrum backyard sun-blockers. Giants in a world of giants, they tower above the surrounding forest; affording spectacular views over the surrounding karri forest and farmland.  It’s a horizon of treetops and on a clear day, it is possible to see for 40+ km.

Built in 1947, the Gloucester Tree was one of eight karri trees that between 1937 and 1952 were made relatively easy to climb so that they could be used as fire lookout spots. The suitability of the tree as a fire lookout was tested by forester Jack Watson, who climbed the tree using climbing boots and a belt. It took Watson six hours to climb 58 metres, a difficult climb due to the 7.3-metre girth of the tree and the need to negotiate through limbs from 39.6 metres up. Jack Watson, a Gallipoli veteran, was also Superintendent of Kings Park in Perth. Another forester, George Reynolds, pegged the ladder and lopped branches to facilitate climbing the tree, and a wooden lookout cabin was built 58 metres above the ground.

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Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

The region of Western Australia is a special corner of the world – now one of my favourite places for bush walking and just being out in the woolly wild. Well, it could be if I lived there  Much of the plant life in these forests is unique to the south-west of Western Australia. Trees such as the tingle only occur in this small area and as such provide a window to the past. Some of the plants have origins that can be traced back 65 million years to the super continent Gondwana when Australia was joined with what are now Africa, India, Antarctic and South America.

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