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Leading landscape photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel present Wise Trees—a stunning color-photography book containing more than 50 historical trees with remarkable stories from around the world.
“The photographers sought out ‘inspirational trees—ones that had witnessed history, survived calamities, or were the focus of spiritual veneration’ and found over 60 examples from around the globe.” —Los Angeles Times
Foreword byVerlyn Klinkenborg
Supported by grants from the Expedition Council of the National Geographic Society, Diane Cook and Len Jenshel spent two years traveling to 59 sites across five continents to photograph some of the world’s most historic and inspirational trees. Trees, they tell us, can live without us, but we cannot live without them. Not only do trees provide us with the oxygen we breathe, food gathered from their branches, and wood for both fuel and shelter, but also they have been essential to the spiritual and cultural life of civilizations around the world.
From Luna, the Coastal Redwood in California that became an international symbol when activist Julia Butterfly Hill sat for 738 days on a platform nestled in its branches to save it from logging, to the Bodhi Tree, the sacred fig in India that is a direct descendent of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, Cook and Jenshel reveal trees that have shaped our lives, our traditions, and our feelings about nature.
There are also survivor trees, including a camphor tree in Nagasaki that endured the atomic bomb, an American elm in Oklahoma City, and the 9/11 Survivor Tree, a Callery pear at the 9/11 Memorial. All of the trees were carefully selected for their role in human dramas. This project both reflects and inspires awareness of the enduring role of trees in nurturing and sheltering humanity.
Photographers, environmentalists, history buffs, and nature-lovers alike will appreciate the extraordinary stories found within the pages of Wise Trees!
About the Author
Diane Cook and Len Jenshelare two of America’s foremost landscape photographers. Their previous books include Aquarium (2003), Hot Spots: America’s Volcanic Landscape (1996), and Travels in the American West (1992). Their work is represented in more than 100 major collections worldwide and they have been contributing photographers to National Geographic for 20 years. They live in New York City.
Verlyn Klinkenborg is the author of The Rural Life and five other books. He teaches at Yale University and was a member of the New York Times editorial board for 16 years.