I’m thrilled to be hosting this edition of the world’s greatest aggregation of arboreal blog brilliance. It should come as no surprise that I spend plenty of time looking at trees. In fact, over the next few weeks, I plan on scanning the canopy with an intensity that will undoubtedly result in either eye strain or neck cramps. Of course, I’ll really be looking in, around, under, and through as much as at; we birders are prone to missing the forest for the trees.

Obviously, there are more ways to look at a tree than as a repository for birds (although they’re certainly splendid in that regard.) Rumor has it that there are at least thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird. This begs the question of how many ways there are of looking at a tree…

Tales & Legends by P. L. Frederick

NATURALISTS tend to see the forest and the trees…
Dave Bonta, who had the prescience to plant the acorn from which the mighty oak of this festival has sprung, sees trees, birds, and much more in his annual sojourn Back to Rickett’s Glen:

Cold-water stoneflies, brook trout, and other species dependent on the cooling properties of hemlock groves will suffer, as will some of the songbirds that reach their highest densities in old-growth conifer forests: Acadian flycatcher, Blackburnian warbler, black-throated green warbler, and blue-headed vireo.

Ocean can appreciate the significance of a Garry Oak Ecosystem and Spring Flowers:

There are 700 species identified within and interdependent upon the Garry Oak ecosystem… Many are unique and found no where else in Canada.

Vinayaraj V R muses “Can a Forest be Grown ?

Can a forest be made? be grown? At first it might seem impossible. But with some attention, patience and will a forest can be made.

WinterWoman reveals the intimate secrets of Oh Those Sexy Red Maples with a hint of arboreal erotica…

Did you ever think about tree sex?

HISTORIANS see trees in both their present and past…
Tim Abbott offers a pithy Lament for the Baobabs:

Baobabs can live for many centuries, but when they die they go out in spectacular fashion.

Tai Haku teaches us what truly Magnificent Magnolias look like:

Kew being old has enormous tree magnolias which have had the benefit of time to grow into monstrous bloom producing trees as opposed to biggish shrubs which is how they so often look.

Speaking of history, did you know that the world’s oldest recorded living tree, a 9,550 year old Norway spruce, has been discovered in the Dalarna province of Sweden?

CONSERVATIONISTS see trees today and tomorrow…
When Chris Clarke observes Lichen on pallid manzanita, he muses:

Seeing new growth and a new potential generation on an endangered species: a good feeling.

While we’re talking about conservation, did you know what an ecological blight the original Arbor Day was? In some lights, trees can be dangerous!

PHENOLOGISTS actually track the seasons by observing natural phenomena…
On Independence Day, Lorianne notes a quality of young leaves most of us miss:

New leaves often look distinctively different from their mature counterparts, as if baby leaves were alien life forms that only later morph into something known and familiar.

GARDENERS take a view that ranges from utilitarian to sentimental…
Faced with Removing a Dead Tree, Jamie McIntosh grows wistful:

It was with sadness that we had to say goodbye to an old black walnut tree in our back yard yesterday.

Ashley Peace sounds like a proud parent gushing over his treeblog Set A – One-Year Anniversary:

Today is the first anniversary of the planting of treeblog’s Set A! In celebration of their first year in earth, I have prepared this special post to list the major milestones that they have experienced so far.

Jesse Milton sees the wisdom in Tree Care Handbook Vol. 1, Flowering Dogwood:

The Tree Care Handbook series contains aggregate information from treatises, US government publications, and forestry texts; and most importantly, draws upon the profound knowledge of experienced professional tree care practitioners.

Amy closes the gardening circle of life by Using Fall Leaves To Fertilize And Protect Your Lawn:

Every year, people spend millions of dollars to purchase commercial fertilizers and mulches for their lawns. Yet at the same time, they rake up the fallen leaves from neighboring trees and put them in the trash.

Of course, where there are trees, there are usually grasses both native and nonnative grasses. Tree lovers may have mixed reactions to the assertion that a stand of bamboo actually absorbs more carbon dioxide and releases more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees.

CIVIL ENGINEERS perceive trees in the context of our artificial environments…
Georgia Silvera Seamans talks about Street Trees: Let’s Think Outside the Wires:

…in choosing a city’s trees, there’s a lot more to consider than power lines

MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS see trees as the tonic for our artificial environments…
Lori Jewett has thoughts on Why Getting Back to Nature May Prove to be the Best Therapy:

Time spent in, or even near, nature can be therapeutic and that idea isn’t exactly new.

POETS see trees in countless subtle ways…

A hallow tree peers into my window as if it were watching an art exhibit. – Corinne Elizabeth

The trees whisper of spring’s approach
While small birds sit amidst the conversation
Cocking their heads this way and that. – Beverly Robertson

What color is the rain,
that softly falls on a quiet morning
from a colorless sky? – Nina

The Wandering Pine migration’s an unstoppable stampede
which makes up in tenacity for what it lacks in speed; – Harry Rutherford

TEACHERS see instructional moments in the woods…
Harmony Art Mom proposes a Green Hour Challenge #11 Year of Trees: Spring:

This is a good time to start a seasonal tree study.

PHOTOGRAPHERS show us trees in a whole new light…
Granny J reveals rugged beauty in Knots on wood:

Over the years, the log has given way to weathering. But the knots are made of sterner stuff and they abide.

(And be sure to check out Granny J’s photo essay on The roots of Prescott!)

Liza Lee Miller produces an unexpected Wordless Wednesday treat:

An unexpected tree — 200+ feet tall just dripping purple flowers.

Speaking of unexpected, how about Harry Rutherford’s Barcoded Tree:

I have no idea why someone is stamping barcodes on trees in London.

Larry D. revels in the beauty of Redbuds In April:

Eastern Redbuds grow as a small understory tree in the woodlands here in SE Kansas. They put on a wonderful show with thousands of small dark pink flowers that sing together to light up the early spring.

(If you occasionally look at trees this way, you might consider submitting a photo of your special tree to the gallery at The Wooden Branch)

ILLUSTRATORS have a similar gift to render trees yet unseen…
P. L. Frederick graciously provided Tales & Legends above:

It combines an ancient creation story and the Orion nebula, which is a good 1,500 light-years from Earth. In the night sky Orion is the brightest spot in the sword of the constellation Hunter. The bird knows.

A. Decker had an Arbor Day so fantastic that it moved him to sketch:

Here’s a sketch of the tree we planted yesterday, my grandson and I.

Clearly, there are a myriad of ways to look at a tree (and I haven’t even polled carpenters and lumberjacks!) What’s fascinating is how often we look at trees but really see ourselves…

Julie Dunlap observes a lot more than the forest when she’s Seeing Trees:

April 1 is the eighth anniversary of my relationship with a plum tree.

Beau also notes the natural juxtaposition of Trees and Changing Perspectives:

Can a tree morph into something more than what we have seen for so many years?

With billions of trees and billions of us, it seems fair to say that we’ve merely scratched the surface of the infinite ways we might look at trees. I’m grateful to all of the participants of this carnival for their generous observations but more field research is required! If you plan on embarking on some arboreal observation and sharing your perspectives in a blog format (no paper means more trees!) you should be a part of the next Festival of the Trees, hosted by the wonderful Wren of Wrenaissance Reflections. Send submissions to jlblum [at] Wrenaissance [dot] com by May 29.

One final tree-related note: The Nature Conservancy has launched an ambitious Plant a Billion Trees Campaign to reforest 2.5 million acres of land in the Atlantic Forests of Brazil by planting 1 billion trees over the next seven years. Their hope is that this initiative will connect 12 million acres of tropical forest corridors, remove 10 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually, protect watersheds serving 70 million people and create 20,000 jobs. Care to be a part of it?

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.