On Saturday, June 3, the MSNH visited a Bradford pear tree on the busy northwest corner of 86th Street and Broadway with awarding winning author and ecologist Dr. David Haskell. This tree, which goes unnoticed by hundreds of pedestrians every day, is one of many trees featured in Haskell's latest book, The Songs of Trees. During the event, Haskell explained the origins of this Bradford pear tree and highlighted the ways in which this individual tree, and many other trees in the city, interact with their environment. For example, Haskell explained how trees like this one save the city millions of dollars each year by keeping the sidewalks cool in the summer heat and providing protection from flooding. They also help control air pollution and act as a river bank where people can step aside to take a break from the ongoing pedestrian traffic. Participants then engaged in activity where they got to use their five senses to examine a tree of their choosing taking time to experience the natural world around them that most people take for granted. To learn more about the The Songs of Trees, check out Ed Yong's interview in The Atlantic and Paul Kvinta's profile in Outside Magazine.
To view more photos from this event visit our gallery. All photo credit goes to Maurice Chen.
Dr. David Haskell is a biology professor at Sewanee: The University of the South. He received his B.A. from the University of Oxford and his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Haskell's first book, The Forest Unseen, was winner of the National Academies’ Best Book Award for 2013 and finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, among other honors. A profile by James Gorman in The New York Times said of Haskell that he “thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist.”