Leading landscape photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel present Wise Trees – a stunning photography book containing more than 50 historical trees with remarkable stories from around the world. Supported by grants from the Expedition Council of the National Geographic Society, Cook and Jenshel spent two years traveling to fifty-nine sites across five continents to photograph some of the world’s most historic and inspirational trees.
Trees, they tell us, can live without us, but we cannot live without them. Not only do trees provide us with the oxygen we breathe, food gathered from their branches, and wood for both fuel and shelter, but they have been essential to the spiritual and cultural life of civilizations around the world.
From Luna, the Coastal Redwood in California that became an international symbol when activist Julia Butterfly Hill sat for 738 days on a platform nestled in its branches to save it from logging, to the Bodhi Tree, the sacred fig in India that is a direct descendent of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, Cook and Jenshel reveal trees that have impacted and shaped our lives, our traditions, and our feelings about nature.
There are also survivor trees, including a camphor tree in Nagasaki that endured the atomic bomb, an American elm in Oklahoma City, and the 9/11 Survivor Tree, a Callery pear at the 9/11 Memorial. All of the trees were carefully selected for their role in human dramas. This project both reflects and inspires awareness of the enduring role of trees in nurturing and sheltering humanity.
Photographers, environmentalists, history buffs, and nature-lovers alike will appreciate the extraordinary stories found within the pages of Wise Trees!