Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Man Who Planted Trees

(Image by Frederic Back from

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, is a moving parable of how one person can help to restore the damaged Earth. It tells the story of Elzeard Bouffier, laboring in solitude and silence for thirty years, who replants a desolate region.

"It was his opinion that this land was dying for want of trees. He added that, having no very pressing business of his own, he had resolved to remedy this state of affairs."

By the simple act of planting trees, the countryside is transformed. "Instead of the dry wind that used to attack, a gentle breeze was blowing, laden with scents ... The old streams, fed by the rains and snows the forest conserves, are flowing again."

An animated film by Frederic Back, with original music by Normand Roger, is available in both English and French. The English translation is slightly different than that published by Chelsea Green. A book featuring illustrations from the film is available from the same source. In the US, contact Direct Cinema Limited (800-525-0000 or 310-396-4774).

A CD and audio cassette include the story narrated by Robert J. Lurtsema, with music by the Paul Winter Consort. Contact Living Music (860-567 8796)

The most widely-known English translation is published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (800-639-4099) with woodcut illustrations by Michael McCurdy.

Giorno, of course, wrote the original in French: L'Homme Qui Plantait Des Arbres is published by Gallimard-Jeunesse with illustrations by Willi Glasauer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prescribed Fire to Control Invasives

The Doyle nature preserve is a candidate for a prescribed ecological burn in late March or early April (depending on weather.)

Such burns can be very effective in controlling invasive species.

A hot burn can be fatal to small stems of common buckthorn.

Trained staff and volunteers from Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation have conducted burns at the Doyle Presrve since 1996. The first woods burn was on March 7, 2000; another was held on April 4, 2001.

(These photos are from April 15, 2005)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pollinators - Native Bees

Julianna Tuell's presentation on native bees was a highlight at the Wildflower Association of Michigan's 2008 conference.

Her MSU Extension Bulletin "Conserving Native Bees" is available as a pdf download.

Also, Gretchen LeBuhn has created an on-line guide to native bees.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Songs for not-quite-Spring

In eastern North America, Spring is eagerly awaited, but it sometimes seems a long time coming. One way to cope is with music.

Singers Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills and Cindy Mangsen have two nice songs on their "Voices of Winter" CD ( )

"Witch hazel"


If you've been removing invasise shrubs (especailly common buckthorn) you might enjoy this ditty from Judy Schmidt c. 2003 (Tune: The Victors")

Hail to the buchthorn cutters
Hail to the heartwood hunters
Rhamnus cathartica, we bid you adieu

You drop your berries on us
You stick your thorns into us
Rhamnus cathartica, we will get rid of you

Monday, March 3, 2008

Volunteer Stewardship Day February 23, 2008

Neighbors and volunteers turned out on February 23, 2008, to remove invasive shrubs such as common buckthorn.

See its summer appearance here.

Billy Kirst from NAP led plant ID and removal.