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Finding the Mother Tree: A Conversation with Suzanne Simard

This May 19 webinar will celebrate an important new book and the wisdom of the forest. Register now.

Sierra Club BC 10 May 2021 | TheTyee.ca

When you walk through an old-growth forest, have you ever wondered what’s going on beneath your feet? Turns out below the forest floor is an underground world of fungal networks that allow trees to communicate and act as a single being. If this is news to you, this new book and upcoming webinar may change the way you see the remaining old-growth forests in British Columbia.

Sierra Club BC is hosting a webinar with TED speaker and professor Suzanne Simard to celebrate the launch of her new book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, a moving account of her scientific journey to uncover and understand the tree elders that nurture forests. By caring for each other, sharing food and sheltering their young, they remind us of human families.

Simard, a professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, has earned a global reputation for pioneering research on tree connectivity and communication. Her research has created a paradigm shift in the way many in the West view forests, and illuminates how forests are social, co-operative and communal.

Following a reading from her book, recently published on May 4, Sierra Club BC will facilitate a conversation and Q&A with Simard. We will also hear from Kwakwaka’wakw artist Rande Cook, who will offer an Indigenous perspective on the responsibilities we hold in our relationship with forests.

During the webinar, attendees can expect to receive an update on the province’s current old-growth movement from Sierra Club BC’s forest community liaison Robin Strong and lead organizer Flossie Baker. They will share ways to get involved and what Sierra Club BC is doing to bring more diverse voices into the conversation surrounding old growth.

When considering Simard’s lifelong research and the ways trees in a forest communicate and nurture each other, it is impossible not to think of Big Lonely Doug. Still standing on the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation, the second largest Douglas-fir tree in Canada is surrounded by a massive clearcut. As his name implies, does he get lonely? And more importantly, what can he teach us?

Next time you hear a politician talking about old growth, we invite you to pay attention. Do they talk about trees only as individual beings, and how they can financially benefit us? Or are they talking about forests and the fragile ecosystems they support?

Intact old-growth forests are quickly disappearing in B.C. This is bad news, not only because they support ecosystem function and resilience, but also because they lower climate risks for surrounding communities and provide a home to many at-risk species. These forests are communities, and they’re losing their oldest and wisest members.

Join Sierra Club BC for this fascinating conversation with Suzanne Simard about the wisdom of the forest on Wednesday, May 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Register here.

About Sierra Club BC

Sierra Club BC is an environmental non-profit working to steward abundant ecosystems and a stable climate, while building resilient, equitable communities by reconnecting children and youth with nature, supporting grassroots-led climate action, and advocating for old-growth protection and a rapid shift away from fossil fuels.  [Tyee]

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