Book Review: Finding the Mother Tree:  Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

By Sue Schechter, Past Chair of AALS PB/ATJ Section

Cover of Suzanne Simard's Book, 'Finding the Mother Tree, Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest'

Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia.  I bet that makes you want to read more, right?  Seriously, this past year I decided I needed some hope and inspiration to keep going, so I started with The Book of Joy:  Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu and Douglas Adams and moved to The Book of Hope:  A Survival Guide in Trying Times by Jane Goodall and Douglas Adams.  Figuring you have all heard of and read or decided not to read The Book of Joy and if not, then The Book of Hope might not have resonated, I found my way to Finding the Mother Tree – a book Goodall and Adams reference in their book. In a moment of not finding much hope in where humans are taking our planet, I decided to see if I could find hope someplace else…and lo and behold, Suzanne Simard’s book presented itself. 

It is a compelling and fascinating read as she talks about her path to realizing how interconnected and important trees are to each other and to the world.  For me, three things are true – I will never look at a tree the same way again, I will do more to acknowledge and embrace the importance of the natural world, and I will stop believing humans are the only species who know everything and can fix/change everything.  If you need some joy, some hope, and are up for learning some forest ecology, I strongly recommend this book.  In addition, years back, it appears scientists did not take her ideas/theories seriously and now she is gaining more momentum and respect for her important work in trying to get us all to wake up and smell the roses, oops, I mean trees!

Confession – I am still working my way through the book.  Reading articles about Professional Identity as I prepare to teach has taken over my life.