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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

I have long appreciated Champlain Park for its big trees, including the large Maples that grace Daniel Avenue and the many trees in the park. Celebrating the Champlain Oaks, however, gives a new perspective. A little knowledge of their history and ecology, and help from satellite images and old aerial photos, suddenly brings the forest into view. I now see how the many individual trees I love are connected in space and time in ways I had never imagined. I see the forest for the many trees planted by several generations of homeowners, and ancient trees here long before anyone alive today. This has been a kind of awakening for me. I feel a bit like an Ent of Middle Earth that has suddenly woken up to see the web of life — my neighbours, birds of many kinds, the insects they feed on, the squirrels that gorge on acorns and fallen seeds from my bird feeder, and the rabbit that inhabits the cedar bushes. This is what it means to live in an Urban Forest. --Daniel Buckles

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