Virtual Event: Sy Montgomery and Suzanne Simard
The Hummingbirds' Gift:
Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings
Finding the Mother Tree:
Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest
in conversation with NATHANIEL RICH
May 21, 2021
12:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes renowned naturalists SY MONTGOMERY and SUZANNE SIMARD for a discussion of their latest, highly anticipated books, The Hummingbirds' Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings and Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. They will be joined in conversation by acclaimed, bestselling writer NATHANIEL RICH, author of Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade, available here.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Hummingbirds' Gift and Finding the Mother Tree on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About The Hummingbirds' Gift
As one of the most beautiful and intriguing birds found in nature, hummingbirds fascinate people around the world. The lightest birds in the sky, hummingbirds are capable of incredible feats, such as flying backwards, diving at speeds of sixty-one MPH, and beating their wings more than sixty times a second. Miraculous creatures, they are also incredibly vulnerable when they first emerge from their eggs. That’s where Brenda Sherburn comes in.
With tenderness and patience, she rescues abandoned hummingbirds and nurses them back to health until they can fly away and live in the wild. In The Hummingbird’s Gift, the extraordinary care that Brenda provides her peanut-sized patients is revealed and, in the process, shows us just how truly amazing hummingbirds are. With Sy Montgomery’s signature “joyful passion” (Library Journal), and including sixteen pages of gorgeous color photos, this beautifully written and inspiring little book celebrates the profound gift that hummingbirds are to our planet and is the ultimate gift for nature lovers and bird watchers everywhere.
About Finding the Mother Tree
Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she's been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron's Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths—that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.
Simard writes—in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways—how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies—and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.
Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them—embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey—of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.
Praise for The Hummingbirds' Gift
“Montgomery's bright, richly illustrated chronicle stirs renewed appreciation for human empathy, skill, and wonder and a miraculous winged species.” —Booklist
Praise for Finding the Mother Tree
"This book promises to change our understanding about what is really going on in the forest, and other pressing mysteries about the real world." —Michael Pollan
"I can think of no one better suited to bring humanity into the process of science." —J. C. Cahill, professor of plant ecology at the University of Albert
Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars.
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