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Museum Event to Launch New Book: Witness Tree

April 13, 2017
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The witness tree by Lynda V. Mapes

Near the edge of the Harvard Forest stands a stately red oak tree that, if you listen closely, tells a rich, 100-year story of human and environmental change. Veteran Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes studied the tree and its environs intently for a year during a recent Bullard Fellowship. The result is her new book, Witness Tree, which Mapes will present to the public at the Fisher Museum on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m.

Mapes' storytelling, based on interviews with dozens of scientists, historians, tradesmen, and others, creates a rich picture of the many ecological, climatic, and cultural changes that have shaped the landscape around the tree in its 100 years of life.

The book, released this month by Bloomsbury Publishing, has already received praise from a great many writers, historians, and scientists. Ecologist and writer Tom Wessels describes Mapes' work: "The real witness in Witness Tree is Lynda Mapes, who during a year at the Harvard Forest meets a cadre of people who are unraveling the forest’s wonderful secrets and how those are being impacted by climate change. This rich, engaging book should be in the hands of anyone interested in forests and the amazing stories they have to tell."

Mapes will also present the book at 6 Bridges Gallery (with a presentation by HF Senior Ecologist Neil Pederson) in Maynard on Thursday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m., and at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston on Friday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m.

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