Every Tree Tells a Story: Even Young Trees Have Witnessed Towns Develop, Presidents Pass, Cultural Movements Evolve, and Children Grow into Adults. Every Tree, Young or Old, Has a Story

American Forests, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

Every Tree Tells a Story: Even Young Trees Have Witnessed Towns Develop, Presidents Pass, Cultural Movements Evolve, and Children Grow into Adults. Every Tree, Young or Old, Has a Story


While remarkable or historic buildings and landmarks are often preserved from the surge of development, it is rare for significant natural landscapes to get the same appreciation and protection. That is why the work of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) is so important.

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Where some people may simply see a park, forest, or canyon, TCLF sees more. It sees the site's history, those who established and cared for it, and the influence it has had on people and communities. Each year, TCLF chooses a new theme for its Landslide initiative, which highlights significant landscapes at risk. This year, in cooperation with several new collaborators, including AMERICAN FORRSTS, Landslide is focusing on the stories of trees in 12 places across America. By raising awareness of the historic, cultural, and ecological significance of these trees, we hope to generate interest and support for their protection and preservation.

With outstanding photography commissioned by American Photo magazine, we present here some highlights of Landslide 2010: Every Tree Tells a Story. We urge you to visit the complete online presentation of this initiative (tclf.org/landslide), the traveling photo exhibit and the trees themselves. We hope you are inspired to seek out and cherish the stories of special trees in your community. Even young trees have witnessed towns develop, presidents pass, cultural movements evolve, and children grow into adults. Every tree, young or old, has a story.

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Louisville, Kentucky

As a 19th century landscape architect who worked to bring rural ecosystem benefits into an urban setting, Frederick Law Olmsted was ahead of his time. Perhaps this is why, over 100 years later, the parks he designed are still the most beloved in Louisville.

The three original Olmsted parks are in different parts of the city, each with unique natural features. Instead of shaping his parks artificially, Olmsted highlighted what the land had to offer, from Cherokee Park's rolling hills, to Iroquois Park's native woodlands. After his retirement, the Olmsted Brothers firm kept his principles, spreading nature throughout the city by planting trees along streets and parkways. Today the flagship parks still offer the city recreation opportunities and millions of dollars in ecosystem benefits.

Sadly, disaster has struck these beloved parks. In 2008, Hurricane Ike felled many Olmsted-era trees, as did the severe ice storm that soon followed. Many of the parks and streets are now missing trees. Replanting them would help the city restore its tree cover and the principles that Olmsted used to shape the city. Learn more at www.olmstedparks.org.

Milliken, Colorado

The Arborland Nursery doesn't sell saplings, but large trees. And since there's no better place to grow large trees than a forest, that is exactly what it has become. Today, the 90-acre nursery is a forest of more than 12,000 large trees, and the owners aren't the only ones who benefit. …

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