Everyone Loves Trees

By Dawe, Nancy Anne | American Forests, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

Everyone Loves Trees


Dawe, Nancy Anne, American Forests


IN THE FIRST OF AN OCCASIONAL SERIES, WE SALUTE SOME OF THOSE HELPING MAKE GLOBAL RELEAF 2000's 20-MILLION-TREES GOAL A REALITY.

"Everyone loves trees," says geographer Shaul Ephraim Cohen, an assistant professor at the University of Oregon in Eugene. His own attention was drawn to trees during his childhood in Evanston, Illinois.

"One of my profound impressions was of the fall colors of the elms - some of which still survive," he says. This environmental interest continued, leading to a geography major in college. "I wanted to be able to interpret the landscape wherever I was - not simply as a tourist," he says.

And interpret landscapes he has - both here and abroad. While earning a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and living in Jerusalem, he conducted his doctoral research, "The Politics of Planting," on the explosive West Bank. The experience demonstrated "that even though the Israelis and Palestinians were dealing with bitter conflicts, both recognized the value of planting trees. Not infrequently, the antagonists could deal with each other because of a love of trees."

Cohen not only teaches (including graduate seminars such as "The Tree and Forest in the Human Experience"), he also lectures, writes, participates in panel discussions, and consults. And actively plants trees. In fact, he's among the most prodigious planters to record his efforts on AMERICAN FORESTS' web page. That's where individuals can count their trees toward AMERICAN FORESTS' Global ReLeaf 2000 goal of planting 20 million trees for the new millennium.

"I'm always on the lookout for material about tree planting, either in magazines, on the web, or public campaigns. I belong to AMERICAN FORESTS and saw that you could log trees in."

Cohen quickly notes his planting is done together with - and on the land of - his friend and colleague, Carl Johannessen, a retired geography professor from the same university. …

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