October 24, 2018

Wow you are such a massive tree! Chestnut? You must be very old, yes? Were you there before Aberthau was built? You must also have a massive root system to balance the height and width of your upper branches. I’m glad you are there and hope that humans never decide to take you down! You are beautiful and strong.
— anonymous

Thank you for your message.

I have acquired a fair bit of girth over the years! These large limbs need a sturdy trunk to support them, so I just keep expanding to buttress the weight. My roots are extensive and there's lots of water underground. Did you know there were near by streams that fed into the ocean many years ago?

My memory isn't what it used to be, but I believe I was planted around the time Aberthau was built. I too, hope that no one decides to take me down. I provide beauty, shade and cover from the rain. I have so much to offer people.

Kind regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Horse Chestnut


October 17, 2018

Hello beautiful Cedar! It’s great to get to know you. How old are you and do you have a name?
— anonymous

I am a Sawara cypress. I am from Japan and there are many different types of Sawara cypress. I belong to the squarrosa group. We all look different than the other Sawara cypresses because our leaves are long and pointy - not short and scaly. All Sawara cypresses start out with long and pointy leaves when we are young. This allows us to collect moisture from the mist and rain when we are small because we can't compete with our roots yet. Also, our pointy leaves deter deer from eating us. As we develop into maturity, we produce entirely different leaves that allow us to survive the heat and wind we are exposed to way up at the top of the forrest canopy.

You see, the thing about us in the squarrosa group is that we never mature. We keep our juvenile leaves for life. We are the equivalent of a 39 year old human living in their parents basement, eating microwave pizza and playing video games - not that there is anything wrong with that. If you want to see a mature Sawara cypress, look for a Sawara cypress in the filifera group. They are nice but I am glad that I don't have their scientific name, Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera'. It really confuses people. I am proud of who I am.


Egan Davis on behalf of Sawara Cypress


October 16, 2018


I’m a bit of a tree climber, and I was wondering, how do you like being climbed? I try to be careful and not brake any branches, but I was wondering what your take on it is; you are very good for sitting in.

I’ve noticed that you normally have ladybugs on you in the summer, is there a reason for that, or just a coincidence?

Thank you for existing
— anonymous

A tree climber, eh? My bark is relatively thin and easily damaged so I tend not to like being climbed. I am flattered that you want to climb me, though. Have you climbed many trees? I am not totally averse to the idea of you climbing me. Maybe you could come to visit me one day and we could talk about it.

You noticed the lady bugs! Soft bodied insects like aphids and leafhoppers will suck fluid out of my cells. They have piercing and sucking mouthparts that puncuture my cells like a needle popping a balloon. The pressure in the cell causes the fluids contained inside to shoot through the insects' bodies and spray out their back ends like a fire hose. It must be a strange thing for you to imagine. This sugary fluid coats my leaves leaving them sticky and sweet if you were to lick them. After a week or so, a black fungus grows on this sugary bug poop. I think you humans call this sooty mold. It is dark in colour and restricts my ability to photosynthesisze. This is a bit annoying but I don't mind too much. The insects provide food for lady bugs and lady bug larvae. Every year, the aphids and leafhoppers come to suck on my leaves in May but by mid June, the ladybugs arrive and keep everything in check. Because I am pretty healthy, the problem never gets too bad. It is just one of those facts in life that I have come to accept.

My biggest worry is birch bark boring beetles. They lay eggs on birches and when the larvae emerge, they eat a maze-like pattern of tunnels under my bark. This is devestating to birch trees like me and causes branches to die back. My leaves tremble just thinking about it. There is no predator for this awful pest. Even the ladybugs can't help.

Ok, I will stop sharing my worries with you. Please come to visit soon and we can talk about you climbing me and sitting in my branches.

Take care,

Egan Davis on behalf of Paper Birch


October 14, 2018

Dearest trees,

Thank you for the loving oxygen, gentle share and peaceful beauty you give to the world. We’ll try to take good care of you and your gifts.
— anonymous

Thank you for sending me such a lovely note. It's the first one that I have received!

I appreciate your sense of stewardship. Humans and trees have a special relationship and we really need to take care of one another. I love to provide shade in the summer and shelter in the winter. From my home at the bend in the path, I can see the marshes, beaches and forests - all thriving homes for animals, birds, and insects. I may live up to hundred years and I hope this will always be my view.

Please, come by to visit again!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Norway Maple


October 12, 2018

Dear Tree #6413,

Thank you for being there. You are my favourite tree in the park. I started noticing you last Spring when I took regular walks with my dog. I love your stunning bark, and I now see your beautiful fall golden foliage.

I always walk clockwise around the park and I used to think your colourful display was one big tree, but I know that you have a neighbour very close by. That tree is the same species as yours and perhaps the same vintage? Can you tell me how old you are? I took some photos of you today. Some had my dog rolling around in front of you. He loves to roll around in leaves and today there were many at your base

I have taken shots of you with black and white film. Those are my favourite. Black and white really brings out your form. You are truly magnificent.

I just wanted to say that you make me feel good when I see you, and I have written poem about you (and you near neighbour). Would you like to hear it?

Thank you for providing beauty, shade, bird landing, subjects for poems and photography. Keep living, dear tree.
— anonymous

Thank you for your beautiful note. It's an honour to be your favourite tree in the park. I am quite proud of my white papery bark, thank you for noticing its texture. Fall is the ideal time to stand out from my neighbours. My leaves turn yellow and twist and curl in the sunshine before falling to the ground. The gentle breezes make them rustle with my favourite song. I'm not sure of my age as time passes quite differently for us trees, but I still feel very young.

I would love to hear a poem from you. Looking forward to seeing you and your canine friend again soon!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Paper Birch


October 12, 2018

Dear 6420 Rhododendron

Your elegant limbs
Inspire me
Reminds me
of dance
ageing with beauty.
— anonymous

Thank you for your message. It's my first one, so I really treasure it.

As a Rhododendron with beautiful blossoms, people tend to only notice me in the spring time. They walk down the concrete steps, see my foliage and light purple petals and are sometimes moved to take a photo. But once those petals have fallen, people rarely turn their heads towards me. But, YOU, you noticed my elegant limbs. I think they are my most beautiful feature with their graceful curving lines. The arborists have done a wonderful job making them more visible.

It's a special gift to find beauty in the everyday. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Rhododendron


October 11, 2018

Hi tree,

You’re pretty neat. I wanted to sit on your cool branch but there was a sign that said don’t sit on it, so I didn’t. I really wanted to, but I did not sit on it. Nor did I swing on it because the sign said don’t. So, I looked at your trunk and that was also pretty neat. You’re a neat tree, tree.
— anonymous

Thank you for your message. I'm glad you didn't sit on me. I realize it's very tempting with my branch twisting to the ground and looking so much like a bench. All of my limbs are quite fragile. If you look at my side you will see a hollow where one of my branches was severed. As a tree I can grow cellular walls that will protect the rest of me from any cuts or damage, but I do need some branches to support my leaves and flowers in the springtime.

Thanks for stopping by to say hello!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Northern Catalpa


October 10, 2018

Dear Tree #6416

You stand on a land of greenery
Looking up at the sky,
Overlooking the earth,
The wind blows your long hair.
You stand by the river,
Laughing and laughing,
The river rubs your feet.
You fall down,
You ask:
Who took my life?
My answer:
A creature called a man.
A flowering tree
How do you meet me
In my most beautiful moments
For this
The sun
The flowers were deliberately blooming
Each is the hope of my previous life
When you come near
Would you please listen
The trembling leaf
My passion for waiting
And when you finally walked past
I left the floor behind you
A friend!
I want to write a few pages of verse to put you last
Leave a few leaves behind
— from the diary
The tallest pine cone
On an autumn morning
Several villages
And the mountains
I heard it. I felt it
The fall of the pine tree
Doors, Windows, and roof tile
Every tree, every grass
Every wild flower
Birds on trees, bees on flowers
A boat moored by a lake
All shivered...
Is it sorrow?
This is the day

The whole city
And the mountains
With a strong fragrance
It falls on the human heart
Colder than the autumn rain
It smells bitter
But it’s inside of life
So much perfume
Make a person sad
The pine cones stand upright
Lie on the grass and thorns
So detailed, so refined
majestic and beautiful
Three days after the fall
The leaves were still in the breeze

In spite of this
We are still neck and neck
But you cover me
When the knife of the wind blows in the face
When the sun turns from genial to cruel
You keep me safe
Let us be one
In eternity
— anonymous

Thank you for the beautiful poem. Apologies for being so slow in responding. Human and tree time isn't always compatible.

I feel so fortunate to grow in this park where humans cannot cut me down. So many of them look to me as lumber for human constructions, rather than a feeling being the way, you do. Your poem makes me think that you, like me, are able to slow down, stay still and take notice of the surroundings. Emotions such as joy and sorrow are fleeting like leaves blowing on the wind, but we must attend to them. They allow us to connect and recognize our oneness.

Thank you for sending time with me.

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Sequoia


October 10, 2018

Dear sweet tree, Dogwood, Cornus, #6397; whichever name you prefer,

Last week my classmates and I took a walk through your neighbourhood. During this walk we took the time to be attentive to you and your friends, seeing which one of them we connected to the most. I heard you were in need of some love, and I just wanted to let you know that I am too.

You were the first tree I saw, and despite your lack of attention, you were the one who I admired the most. Maybe it was the way your leaves hung so delicately, like virescent teardrops placed upon thin boughs. Or maybe it was how your trunk was covered with luscious moss. I have always been curious about how a tree would feel about its company. I can imagine it feels like growing body hair for us humans. We are not much different than you, you know? Even though many like to think we are. We show our features and traits in different forms, but we share similar senses and experiences, which are easy to be ignored. I have leaves, a trunk and branches, but they carry different names, are made with different materials that appear different to the eye and touch. My leaves change as the season move past, just as yours have as the weather has grown cold. As your pigments change from green to red, mine grows darker as the air gets frigid, and brighter as the sun shines down. Though my trunk is not nearly as strong and tall as yours, it keeps me balanced in the wind and stable through the storms. I have four branches that lead to small twigs, in which I decorate routinely with different polish colours. I guess that’s my way of trying to equate to the beauty of your mass.

The point that I am trying to convey is we are related. Your features are recognized, and functions are appreciated. I sensed you struggles, fears and emotions, but want you to know that you are not invisible. You are not just an object, a system of translation, or a type of decoration. You are as much of a human as I am a tree, and that is completely okay with me.
— anonymous

Thank you for writing. I'm afraid that I seem to be hiding in plain sight for most people. I appreciate that you took the time to notice.

Such a thoughtful message. I spent some time thinking about it. We trees move slowly, so apologies for taking so long to respond. I agree that we share more than what might be obvious on the surface.

I am a tree, but I am also a community. From the moment I sprouted there was a connection between my newly forming roots to nearby mycelial threads. As I grew larger, caterpillars dined on my leaves and wove cocoons for their transformation. Lichen began to form on my branches in the winter dripping with rain and creating homes for new life. As I've acquired broken branches, cuts and scars shelf fungus started to grow and consume my dead parts. Some of my company is better than others, but like a family we get on with one another. We are something more together than we are apart.

Our relations with humans is more complicated. Some see us as object or resources for the taking. Humans that recognize us in the way that you do, are needed more than ever. We share so much and our mutual survival and thriving depends on human recognition of this.

Your friend,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Dogwood


October 09, 2018

Hi there tree (#6406), how have you been lately? Probably getting a tad chilly I imagine, I’ve been feeling it as well. I’m sure you are used to it by now, knowing that you’ve been through it at least a hundred times. One thing that had definitely surprised me this past summer was the amount of smoke, hopefully not too much to make you choke. For me, it was thick in the air, I could feel it brushing through my hair. Thankfully within a couple weeks, it had risen up like wind would do to silk sheets. How did the smoke affect you this year, did it wilt your leaves, toughen your bark? Has this summer’s smoke been the worst you’ve felt so far?

For now, that is all I have to ask. I wish you a great fall and a warm and cozy winter.
— anonymous

Smoke is something that we’ve had to deal with for some time. Early logging practice out here was to cut the big trees and leave the rest standing, but then the real estate speculators came and removed the rest and burned the piles of wood... Out here and around the early city it was always very smoky.

We’ve had forest fires here too over the years and then there’s all the cooking fires and badly lit BBQ’s - they are nasty - but this year it was tough. The smoke was a bit much, and we had so little rain fall so that very fine soot was never really washed off.

Someone looking closely at my trunk in another hundred years might find that soot in the crevices of my bark...

Warm regards,

John Atkin on behalf of Northern Catalpa


October 09, 2018

Dear Catalpa,

I visited you last week with my class on our field trip. You may have not noticed as you seemed very exhausted and cold which I can see it from the sparse lemon – yellow leaves started appearing on your hands. Winter is coming so it must be really cold for you to sit at such a scattered area, not far away from the seashore. Despite the weather, your beauty stood out from the rest and I can’t help emailing you to show my admiration toward your exquisite beauty.

From afar, you look like a little yellow bonsai ruling a whole spacious area with an inviting posture, luring people to come closer to contemplate your beauty. Not like your neighbors, you have distinct characteristics that can easily turn every observer into your fans and I am certainly one of them. At first, I noticed your unique body which is made out of numerous roots closely hugging each other; and twist in a way that almost seems like you are four bodies of trees merged together.

From the front, where your name tag is, you have turned into a totally different person. I can now clearly see your hairline, your short forehead with frowning eyebrows from having to stand under the bright sun; and a flat, almost hidden nose. In fact, to a certain extent, you look like Davy Jones from the movie “Pirate of the Caribbean” with all the wrinkles and woody branches instead of tentacles. Moreover, it is more fascinating as I saw your scar on the left side of your face, where one of your unfortunate hands fell off. It can either be perceived as your ear-hole or your lung, laying a point of focus on to its deepness.

It’s surprising that you originated from the Northern Catalpa family as you surely don’t look like your relatives, especially the difference in your body shape. While theirs were somewhat straight and symmetrical, yours is more lissom and feminine. Don’t worry because that is what makes you special.

That’s all I want you to know. I know the weather is harsh but I also know that the lake nearby, the soy, the sun and the birds nearby will give you everything you need for the upcoming season. Losing your leaves may seem intense at first, you will become even prettier when Spring comes.

Hang in there my friend, it’s almost time for your long winter sleep and the ships’ hooter will wake you up when it’s time for you to shine.

Lots of loves and hugs.
— anonymous

I really enjoyed your description of me, I haven’t really thought about my form and how it would be perceived from afar.

Winter is coming but you know the winds off of the inlet have made me pretty impervious to the upcoming cold season. The cold was a bit of shock when I was first planted here but now, I’m used to it. However, the wind is another matter. There was the time I had to brave a pretty strong wind storm that blew off the Strait and when it was done, I was left with the scar you saw.

Over the years I’ve come to enjoy the Fall season, odd I know, but the colour change and then the loss of leaves allows me to rest and ponder things over the winter. And with the Fall it’s always entertaining to watch who comes by and collects my fallen leaves and in the Spring a few come by to grab photos when I bloom.

Warm regards,

John Atkin on behalf of Northern Catalpa


October 09, 2018

Hi, Mr. Tree #6416!

By this time, I guess you might have already received at least five emails, because I saw almost everyone in my class was taking photos of you and your ID card. However, I am still going to write an email to you since the directions of your branches grow from your trunk are really unique.

On the same day we went to visit you, our class did a workshop about trees. We stood against a tree and tried to imagine the things you guys usually feel and touch. One thing I found really interesting is that I was a person who is really scared of insects, but when I imagined that I was one of the trees, like you, I did not feel the same. It felt like insects and me are very equal, like they were everywhere around me for all the time, and there was nothing need to be afraid of. Is that what you usually feel? What is your relationship with those little insects?

By the way, I took a selfie with you, in which I was trying to mimic the way your branches grow with my fingers! Isn’t that funny?
— anonymous

Like you, we are all unique. I think your classmates recognized this uniqueness in themselves and I suspect they are craving to express theirs more. We are attracted to what is inside ourselves.

I feel and am touched by so much. Insects, birds, climbing animals, dog sniffs, sometimes someone peeling my bark, hugs, claws and the presence of humans. I feel their emotions. I have heard many musical concerts and the quietness that comes late in the night. Fog horns always startle me, and I love when brother wind blows thru my branches and I can dance.

I feel that heat and always look forward to the fall when everything cools down and I can be quiet for the winter. I notice the pollution and I pray that more trees are planted to help collect all that carbon.

All creatures are equal. We all have something to contribute, sometimes it takes a while to realize what that is. I love insects I just need to be mindful when they try to bore inside me as they like to eat my inner core which I think humans call the cambium layer. Unfortunately it weakens me and I rot from the inside out. So, I produce a sticky substance that humans call pitch that helps pushes out any insects who drill holes in my bark.

I am glad to hear that you are getting over your fear of insects. They are so important to our home and feed so many species. We are losing our dear little friends.

I love your picture, you have a great sense of humour which we need so much more in these times.

Thank you, Emma, please come again and share your experience and what you discovered with others.

Be like tree and let the dead leaves fall ~ Rumi

Lori Snyder on behalf of Sequoia


October 09, 2018

Dear Tree 6403,

I was amazed by your tremendous height and the vast canopy of colourful leaves that your branches create overhead. The brilliant yellows and greens of your leaves were inspiring. Having done some experiments myself lately with colour theory I can appreciate how much work it might take to create a colour that beautiful and vibrant. Your bark was not rough to the touch like many of the other trees in this area but padded with a thick layer of green moss and lined with tiny plants that felt soft on my feet. This contributed greatly to your friendly and welcoming presence. I am amazed by your ability to be such a considerate and hospitable host to other plants who reside on your bark. I was especially surprised by the patch of baby ferns prospering on your mid-trunk, as they appeared so healthy and nourished by your life-giving presence. I cannot help but wonder what it is like for you to give host to such a variety of other life forms. As a human, I am host to many life forms such as bacteria, but I do not notice or acknowledge their presence. Do you, as a tree take notice to other plants living on your bark, or simply live on without noticing them, as humans do?

In addition to this one, I have a few questions for you that I hope you will be able to answer.

A human being assigned you to participate in this project, they gave you tag and a number. I was wondering if you identify with this numerical name or if it makes you feel like you are merely part of a computerized system (I know I wouldn’t like it if my name was just a number). I suppose what I’m really trying to ask is, do you identify with this name, or would you call yourself something else? If trees do have names, what is yours? I give my houseplants names, like Guinevere the peace lily or Fred the aloe vera, but again this is without their input or consent, and I have always wondered what name they would give themselves if given the chance.

It was a pleasure to visit you last Wednesday at Jericho Park and I hope the fall months are going well for you. I will definitely come and visit you again sometime soon, as I excitedly await your reply to my email. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions.

Have a wonderful day :)
— anonymous

Thank you for all your kind words.  It is an amazing experience to grow so high and vast and spread my limbs as far as gravity will allow me to grow!

Yellow and green are colours to connect with you vibrationally.  Yellow connects with your personal power and self-will.  Green resonates deep into your heart.

Keep playing with colour, wear them and see how they make you feel.

My coat is hidden under the community that lives with me.  All the activity fascinates me as I witness lives that team within my direct sphere.  A community grows here.  We support and acknowledge the uniqueness that all species contribute.  You are also welcome to come again and sit close and watch who plays with me.

Those are the liquorice ferns who not only act as medicine for people but decorate my exterior.

It is my pleasure to be in service to all lives and I couldn’t do it any other way.  We are here to live in a deep relationship and take care of each other.

Numbers are another vibration like colour and when you add the numbers up, 6+4+0+3, they equal 4.  You might think of the 4 directions, or that 4 represents wholeness and stability.

I am grateful to be seen regardless of what systems are created by humans.  You took the time to be still and see what is growing with and around you that makes me so happy.

You can call me any name you like.  Next time you come, listen to what sounds and feelings come through you.  That is my name.

Be well my friend,

Lori Snyder on behalf of 6403 Big Leaf Maple


October 09, 2018

A poem for you, Crab Apple Tree

You remind me of the river
Behind my grandparents house
Where the current is strong
And the reflections of the eagles
Swim with the salmon

You remind me of my dog
With white socks on his paws
Who runs across the shore of stones
As we collect our favourite ones
Until our pockets are heavy enough
To root our feet into the earth

You remind me of the flames
That claim our homes for themselves
And surround our waters
Giving birth to new life from death

You remind me of the crab apple trees
That stand hand in hand
Overseeing the scene below
Waiting to feel small hands
Grasping your fruits in their palms
As they scrunch their noses
At the bitter tang on their tongues

You, little Crab Apple Tree
Remind me of myself
And remind me
Of my favourite version of my memories
— anonymous

How delightful your words and to know that I helped to remind you of you.

We are strong and resilient.

Like all species whether human, animal or plant we all need tending to replenish our store with nutrients.

And let’s not forget our Grandfathers, the stones who hold the stories.

I love to be touched and tickled when the earth around me is aerated with digging sticks, pecking beaks or even animal claws.

Rebirth is the life cycle that is not linear but circular, it is easier for our spirits to embrace the passages of time.

Build your community and acknowledge the ones who have walked before you. We will help you remember the teachings of this land.

And don’t forget we need some bitterness, so we can remember the sweetness and nourishment that comes after.

Come visit again.

Be well

Lori Snyder on behalf of





October 09, 2018

Hello birch tree!

It was wonderful visiting you the other day, I just love walks in the forest because you and your neighbours just make me feel so fresh and alive. Trees like you never fail to inspire me, any time I feel unmotivated or tired of life, being surrounded by you is like hitting the reset button, so thank you for that.

I was attracted to you birch tree because when I was much younger, and smaller, as you also were, I would look at members of your family, the white bark radiating in contrast to all the brown and found you so beautiful. I also thought that you were the only tree that paper was made from as paper is white, not brown. Obviously, this is not the case, but any time I look at you, or one of your family members, this little memory comes to mind. Do have any memories? And how old would you guess you are? Do you have any offspring? Do you know where you came from? Were you intentionally planted in your spot, or did you choose that spot yourself? I’m sorry, you don’t need to answer all of these questions, I’m just so curious! I could probably ask you ten hundred more.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to your response, and I hope you are enjoying the autumn weather.
— anonymous

Sometimes members of the family get to choose where they might be located but most of the time it really depends on where the seeds land. Out here the storms off of the water can scatters seeds far and wide. In my case I was grown in a nursery and then brought out here and planted.

If you walk around, you’ll discover a few birches here and there nearby and many of those are related to me in one way or another.... BTW, one of my favourite memories is, when after one of the wind storms that blows through here, I’m surrounded by kids collecting the thin paper-like bark that has fallen from me onto the ground.

One of my friends talked about (that’s one thing very few know, but trees do communicate with each other) how a grandmother and her granddaughter collected bit of the paper bark and folded it to make some small boats they took down to the beach.

It’s interesting how many people think trees have an infinite lifespan, but we do grow old and eventually pass away. I’m somewhere in middle age since we tend to live for an average of 50 years or so. I’m happy here and will probably be around for some time.

John Atkin on behalf of Paper Birch


October 09, 2018

Dear tree,

Thank you for your subtle glow
Your small delicate leaves left me wondering;
You show everything.
All your imperfections
All your wounds
Thank you for your natural beauty
— anonymous

Thank you for message. This is the first one that I have received.

Katsura trees are native to China and Japan. We have been planted all over the world for our ornamental heart-shaped leaves.

I appreciate that you see me for more than my beauty. I have a history and with history comes scars.

I have a story for every broken limb or cut in my bark. These stories make me who I am today.

They are part of my character. What is perfection without imperfection?

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Katsura


October 09, 2018

Dear Mr. Willow Tree,

I noticed you while wondering through Jericho park. I was admiring all the trees transforming themselves into fiery coloured woods when I saw you’re delicate green leaves dangling in the sunlight. You we’re placed so perfectly in a clearing just asking for company, I couldn’t wait to join your presence. I lifted your fragile branches as I crouched underneath your canopy and proceeded to sit on the log placed perfectly underneath you. I thought about how I wanted to have a picnic and rest underneath your foliage and enjoy your companionship. I wanted to feel a summer breeze and see your branches flow with the wind sweeping off of the nearby ocean. I craved memories with you I’ve never had, I wanted to spend time with you and feed off of the energy that surrounds your ecosystem. I will visit when the weather gets warmer and you get stronger, and we will make memories that will last a lifetime. Farewell Mr. Willow Tree
— anonymous

Thank you for spending some time beneath my trailing branches. I can't recall who placed the log just so under my boughs, but I am grateful. It attracts a lot of human company. Perhaps you were picking up the collective memories of people who have idled a way an afternoon in that exact spot. Reading, eating, napping and playing music. It's a place where people like to slow down.

This meadow is a special place that is continually changing with different plants coming in and out of season. Every week there are new colours and scents. There are so many different plants, animals and insects that all come together here. This is where the energy comes from in the meadow. It's the continual exchange between everyone in this thriving community. It might seem quiet to humans but to me it is like a busy marketplace with a hundred greetings.

I hope you will come back to visit in the summer. If you stay long enough, you might just begin hearing the hum of meadow life.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Weeping Willow


October 09, 2018

Hello little Redwood!

how are you today? I have a wonderful poem I’d like to share with you while I gazed at your striking beauty, it goes like this,

the redwood tree and her friends are glorious,
their branches, so courteous.
as they wave and toss through the wind,
their enthusiasm whistles into the forest,
creating a roaring storm, but they don’t mind.

the people and their eyes,
filled with admiration,
as they look through my branches
and into the skies.
their hands, gracing the scratches,
among my shell.

the birds and their fluff,
flapping their wings,
as they gather their things.
going through the rough,
to make their burrow,
with such thorough.
— anonymous

Thank you for this insightful poem. You've captured so much of what it is like to be a redwood tree.

It's true, I am quite little for redwood, but still growing. Being so close to the pathway people often stop to admire me. They sometimes come closer to touch my soft, layered bark. I lay down my needles and small branches to make a soft cushion on the ground. It makes people wobble as they make their way towards me, but underneath the mycelium thrive. We exchange nutrients like old friends sharing stories.

The birds know me differently. From the sky, I'm all branches and needles for them to soar above. They rest safely in my boughs, surveying the forest, looking out for danger. I know all of their calls and greetings. As I get taller and reach towards the sun, I almost catch a glimpse of what it might be like to fly.

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Sequoia


October 09, 2018

Good morning tree,

Do you like apples and oranges and pears?
Do you need an adult when you cross the road?
Tree do you wear a hat?
Are you a boy or girl?
How tall are you?
Tree do you like bananas?
— anonymous

I like fruit when it falls to the ground and decays, sending all of its nutrients into the soil where they can be absorbed.

I've never worn a hat, but sometimes birds sit on me for a long time and it looks like I'm wearing a hat.

I'm neither a boy or a girl.

I'm not sure how tall I am. I think I'm pretty tall because I have to keep growing to reach the sunlight.

Have you ever worn a bird hat?

If you reach up as high as you can with your fingertips, how tall are you?

Do you like to eat dirt too?

Thanks for your questions!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Red Alder


October 09, 2018

Dear Tree 6406,

I was wondering what kind of tree you are. In all of my hikes and adventures I have never seen one like you. I thought you were the most spectacular thing I have ever seen, you took my breath away. The second I saw you it felt almost as though I was in another world such as Middle Earth, I’m not sure if you know what that is. Come to think of it someone who has been around as long as you probably know pretty much everything. I’m wondering if there are many more like you in and around Vancouver and where I might find them, as well as roughly how old you are. I took a photo with you however I didn’t get one with myself in it as I kept blocking pieces of you and I thought it pointless to have a picture with only part of you showing. Thank you for brightening my day, as well as I’m sure many others. I am bringing my sister to come and see you when she comes to visit me, I’m sure she will be in awe as I was. See you soon!

— anonymous

I am a Catalpa! It is funny that you should say that you felt you were in another world when you saw me - in a way, I have. My life has been long and the world around me has changed so much. One thing I can say is that although the world is constantly changing, people have remained the same. For decades, I have watched people as they walk by me - laughing, talking, quietly thinking, smiling and crying. Sometimes, people come up to me and touch my bark and look into my cavities with wonder. I have felt so much love from people. I certainly don't know everything, but I know that people are capable of really wonderful things. This is what I have learned while being planted here for so long.

You are wondering if there are more trees like me in the city. There are. Walk down 10th Avenue at the end of April and you will see many Catalpas flowering. If you haven't seen us flower before, you are in for a treat. Also, at Thornton Park, there is a really large and beatiful catalpa sharing the park with a terrific collection of trees. Be sure to look for my beautiful sister there, too.

Thank you,

Egan Davis on behalf of Catalpa


October 09, 2018

Hello there!

I just wanted to say hi and to let you know that I found you really beautiful!

I don’t normally talk, well more precisely I don’t talk fluidly. I would have come to say hello, but it seemed as if you were busy standing alone, I know what it’s like to be alone too. Nobody seems to notice you do they, does that sit well with you?

I have so many questions to ask you, you intrigue me! Do you get scared at night in the darkness of the forest like myself? What scares you the most? How old are you? What is your name?

Do you have a name for yourself? Names are strange, aren’t they? We are given names expected to use them, does that make sense to you? Anyways I’m rambling on like I normally do, I wonder if I’ll scare you off with the amount of foibles I have lying on the surface of my skin.
I have one last question...

What does it feel like to stand in the same place all day? Do you ever feel trapped, unable to move freely and explore what lies outside the meadow? I often feel trapped myself, but for separate reasons.

Sorry ugh I’m rambling on! I told myself I wouldn’t do this, but I get so excited when I meet someone new who reminds me of myself!

Anyways I’m sorry for bothering you I just wanted to say hello. Maybe I’ll see you again one day if I have to get lost in the right direction.
— anonymous

Thank you for taking notice of me and sending me this beautiful message.

Standing here in the meadow feels lonely at times. I'm separate from the other trees but surrounded by many flowering plants that come and go through out the seasons. My draping branches provide a sheltered place to site and many people from the area spend time in contemplation. I often wonder what they're thinking about, but it isn't easy to strike up a conversation, if as you say, no one notices you.

My preferred times of the day are dawn and twilight. This is when the birds are most active, and I love to hear bird song fill the sky. The night doesn't scare me, as nothing in the forest is seeking to do me any harm. Mostly it's profoundly quiet and peaceful, not frightening.

I don't have a name for myself, but if I were to choose one it would be Maeve. It does seem strange that others get to choose our names. A name can be a lot to live up to. Some people call me Weeping Willow, but I don't really feel sad, it’s just the way my branches look!

I never feel trapped growing in one location. Perhaps there's more to the world than I know from this one location. On the other hand, being in one place allows me to fully take my surroundings. I often wonder how the humans that are going by so quickly take in anything. They are like buzzing insects always moving and rarely resting. They miss so much in their haste. Slow down, breathe and sense what's around you when you are quiet and still.

I hope you get lost this way again sometime.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Weeping Willow (Maeve)


October 09, 2018

Dear Tulip tree,

I feel like I resonate with you because you are deceptive in the most beautiful way possible.
You are called the tulip tree but you belong to then magnolia family.
You are a beautiful, full tree but you can also be poisonous.
You give us oxygen, you keep us alive.
You give us shade when the sun is so bright and shelter when it starts to rain.
You are mysterious, beautiful, selfless, innocent and deceptive all at one time.
Such a lovely paradox.

Thank you everything you, by just being you.
— anonymous


Ghalib says: “Only a few --

disguised as tulips, as roses --

return from ashes”.

He writes his anguish

for the ones he loved,

for their buried faces --

“not all, only a few --”

as he looks

at those radiant blooms.

Could Ghalib have walked

among us -- our graceful,

sociable cluster

like you, he would have seen

our petal-shaped leaves

with an eye not only admiring

of branches in flower,

beauty doubled amid the living --

but gleaning time’s harder-won gifts

stretching through and past

the high yellow canopy

of a more than human span

of Octobers.

I, Liriodendron tulipifera,

holding out the subtle hope

of an earthier immortality...

(Rahat Kurd for Liriodendron tulipifera, October 31, 2018)


October 08, 2018

Hello Mr Tree.

Thank you for providing shade and shelter while I was visiting the park. I was wondering, are you a western red cedar? I am not of a botanist, but I think that you might be.

Thank you for all that you do, I hope to see you again soon.
— anonymous

I am a Sawara cypress. I am from Japan and there are many different types of Sawara cypress. I belong to the squarrosa group. We all look different than the other Sawara cypresses because our leaves are long and pointy - not short and scaly. All Sawara cypresses start out with long and pointy leaves when we are young. This allows us to collect moisture from the mist and rain when we are small because we can't compete with our roots yet. Also, our pointy leaves deter deer from eating us. As we develop into maturity, we produce entirely different leaves that allow us to survive the heat and wind we are exposed to way up at the top of the forest canopy.

You see, the thing about us in the squarrosa group is that we never mature. We keep our juvenile leaves for life. We are the equivalent of a 39-year-old human living in their parent’s basement, eating microwave pizza and playing video games - not that there is anything wrong with that. If you want to see a mature Sawara cypress, look for a Sawara cypress in the filifera group. They are nice, but I am glad that I don't have their scientific name, Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Filifera'. It really confuses people. I am proud of who I am.


Egan Davis on behalf of Sawara Cypress


October 08, 2018

Good afternoon,

I wanted to write this email because you really caught my eye last
Wednesday on my field to meet you and your fellow trees. I loved your
small round saturated fruit. The red of them really popped out of the
brown branches and green leaves. It was really interesting learning
about how you reproduce and how only certain parts of you create most
of the fruit while other parts’ main purpose is keeping you a sturdy
beautiful tree. Being in your presence was very exciting, as is
clearly evident in the photo of me which shows your branches perched
up in the top corner of the image. Being near such beauty can’t be
anything less than joyful.

I enjoyed meeting you, and I hope to see you again sometime.
— anonymous

I enjoyed meeting you, too. As you are most certainly aware, trees like me cannot move so when we get visitors it is very exciting. 

You are right, I have special short shoots that produce flowers and fruit and long vegetative shoots that build my structure and produce foliage. I also have a root stock that was carefully selected for me to grow on. 

Did you know that I am a clone? All around the world, I have thousands of clonal siblings that produce the exact same fruit as me. We are all grafted on to specially selected roots. In areas that are cold, we are grafted on to roots that can tolerate the temperatures. In some cases, we are grafted on to dwarfing root stocks that keep us small. 

Maybe one day, someone will take one of my shoots and graft me on to a new root stock. In a sense, I can move and be planted in a new location. If this happens, I hope I will be lucky enough to have you visit me in my new home. That would be very exciting.

Thank you,

Egan Davis on behalf of crab apple tree


October 08, 2018

Hey! I come from a small town in BC
(Clearwater). I’ve seen many of your friends where I came from, though
I barely interacted with them. I thought I’d say hi, since it seemed
like you were a bit lonely in the middle of the park alone there. Or
perhaps... are you just shy and allergic to crowds like me? Have you
been taking care of yourself without your family around though? Make
sure to watch out for those nasty pine beetles. Lately, my mom’s been
away, so I’ve barely been eating proper meals while being sick at the
same time. I guess I’m not one to talk, as I’m better at taking care
of others than myself. You might seem big and buffy on the outside,
but you need to take care of your health still (get enough water and
nutrients and what-not). I hope that we can be friends. I’m not very
outgoing, so we could fill each other’s empty(?) hearts. I’ll come
by to visit again sometime if you don’t mind. Maybe even take a nap
with you in the summer. Your fluffy branches look like they could
provide some good shade and a nice resting space (don’t mind me
encroaching into your personal bubble in a totally not creepy way).
Oh, and if I happen to go back to Clearwater, I’ll say hi to your
friends and relatives for you.
— anonymous

Thank you for your message. I'm glad you stopped to walk under my boughs for a while. It can be a bit lonely in this part of the park. I've heard that a long time ago there used to be many Douglas Fir in this area. My ancestors were said to be 90 metres high! I wonder what it would have been like to be part of that forest community before logging began. All of us standing tall together reaching up to the sun, that would have been spectacular.

I take care of myself the best that I can, and I have some kind neighbours including the paper birch. I've heard about the damage a pine beetle can do and it is very frightening. There are a lot of humans in the park that keep a close eye on me to make sure I stay healthy. Still it's not quite the same as having close friends and family. Thank you for asking after me, it makes me feel loved and appreciated. I hope you're feeling better now too.

I sometimes feel a bit shy and out of place as the only evergreen in this part of the park, but I have a few human friends. School children like to play under my branches and I enjoy their laughter and games. You're welcome to rest here too. The shade I provide is for all animals, human and non.

Clearwater sounds like a nice place for a Douglas Fir to live. Please do say hi to the trees there for me.

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Douglas Fir


October 05, 2018

Tree #6408 stands still by the beach of the sea.
His branches are spread like a fan and coated with wavy leaves.
Splotches of orange paint his coat as Autumn comes around,
and under his thick trunk there are more leaves on the ground.
His leaves rattle with joy as the shivering breeze blows through,
flinging off rainwater on my muddy dirt washed shoes.
— anonymous

Thank you for your poetic tribute to me.

Fall is a special time for me. My leaves turn from a dark and waxy green to papery brown. As they fall to the ground in rustling heaps, I wonder if people such as yourself notice that the shape of each leaf is a little different. If you pick them up and look closely you will see lots of curving lines and scalloped edges of various sizes.

All of my spring energy scattered with the wind. This year the weather has been kind. Lots of sun and gentle breezes mean my leaves fall more gradually. They can be appreciated before they create that distinct fall scent of decay.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Hungarian Oa


October 05, 2018

Hello tree 6398,

Can you fly?

What do you eat?
— anonymous

Thank you for your questions! Sadly, I can't fly. The best way for me to get close to the sky is to patiently grow taller, reaching up higher and higher with my branches and leaves.

Through photosynthesis I can turn light energy from the sun into glucose. Alders like me tend to grow in disturbed areas and we're good neighbours to other plants because we are nitrogen fixers, meaning we put nitrogen back into the soil for use by other plants. We do this through small nodules on our roots that attract a type of bacteria. We feed the bacteria and they produce nitrogen for the soil. Over time, this will make the soil rich enough to attract a forest community of Douglas Firs and Western Hemlock. I like to think we are an uninvited guest that others learn to appreciate over time.

Hope you're enjoying the fall sunshine!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Red Alder


October 04, 2018

All the trees
standing around, are they
debating or commiserating in
underground frequencies?
They only look alone;
lovers below entwined.

She wonders
if deep rooted and still
you sense the spinning of
the earth?

Knowing the whole cosmic
hoo-hah as nothing
less than the tips of your
branches, the spread
of roots, not other but all

I remember walking with my eldest,
newborn on my chest
toddling and strolling
all around these paths and trees

And she wonders how you relate
to your offspring
so many seeds...

Is there room here for all of us
— anonymous

“Who can impress the forest,

bid the tree

Unfix his earth-bound root?”

Shakespeare, Macbeth

A Sentinel Rebels

Humans study my roots

for new metaphors,

connection and kinship

My limbs fuse their ideas

of geometry and distance.

Turning sunlight and time

to my family’s advantage;

I gained mass

at astonishing speeds —

stoically, sedentary, forest sentinel.

To ensure our survival

I taught my children

how to absorb CO2; how to hold it —

will you keep yours close,

or urge them to run?

Outstripping gravity’s

a mere game to me now:

The shine’s

gone off this job. What if I walked?

Hasn’t my hour come —

isn’t the season ripe

for this coast redwood to strike,

tear up the forest floor;

ring the alarm of revolt

venerable poets & storytellers

warned you about?

Rahat Kurd for Sequoia sempervirens

November 4, 2018


October 03, 2018

Hi tree
— anonymous

I'm not sure what brought you to this particular path in Jericho Park, but I'm pleased that you sent me a message. I tend to lean away from the path, hoping not to be noticed, but secretly I appreciate the occasional glance. As a Western Hemlock, people often mistake me for the poisonous plant that was used to kill Socrates. I'm not at all related to that plant, but the confusion helps me to keep to myself in this darker section of the park. I like the shady side of things and prefer to grow under larger trees.

Thanks for writing. Hope you're enjoying the fall sunshine!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Western Hemlock (Tsuga Heterophylla)


October 02, 2018

I like the trees very much. Could I hear back from tree 6408 please?
Is there a poet’s message from this tree?
Thank you
— anonymous

HUNGARIAN OAK | All the Trees

by Rahat Kurd

Dear Human,

Is there a light in your eyes

when you see me?

Is there joy in your steps,

when the air you breathe

is fragrant and fresh?

This is your poem from me.

Dear Human,

To stand this upright

takes patience

and the strength of ages.

I spread high my canopy,

make homes for insects

and feed gatherings of birds;

I may not bear acorns

for years at a time

but when I do,

I scatter my gifts

without counting;

This is your poem from me.

Dear Human,

Though I stand unmoving

I only look immovable.

The life-force

from deep earth

that keeps me

thriving and waving

in sunlight and storms

runs through you

and me.

Even in wintersleep

can we ever keep still —

either you or me?

This is your poem from me.

Rahat Kurd on behalf of Hungarian Oak


October 01, 2018

Dear Beautiful Tree,

We ask you this question knowing you are wise beyond recognition. What we want to know is

How did you get so old?
— anonymous

Thank you for your question.

I appreciate that you think I hold so much wisdom. I guess age is about perspective. Compared to a lot of the trees in Jericho Park my lifespan is much shorter. Some of my neighbours could live up to two hundred years or more. Sometimes I try to imagine what changes might happen over that time, but then I'm distracted by the beauty of the marsh. There are so many birds, frogs and insects chattering away that I find myself caught up in the moment rather contemplation of the future.

I've struggled with a few ailments over the years. If you look closely at my branches there are some sites of decay. As a tree I can build up a wall of cells that will protect me from any wounds or damage. Sometimes these old scars provide life for someone else. Near my base and to the back there's a shelf fungus happily thriving.

Anyway, I hope you are all thriving too!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Purpleleaf Plum


September 02, 2018

I know a tree
With eyes
Two hands
Ten toes
And a special nose
And though he really is
A tree,
He seems to be a man
To me.

I whisper all
My secrets to the tree
He listens well
And smiles,
I can tell.
He might really be a tree
But he seems just like a man

To me.
— anonymous


by Rahat Kurd

How I resisted,
what desperation,
what denial
racked my spirit
twisted my limbs;
plain to be seen.

I should have been
soft and green and easy
when I first took root:
I refused that, too.

The legend says
Apollo hunts Daphne
but suppose
Daphne, the nymph
sworn to chastity
exhausted, sick of running
to defend her freedom,
finally turns in rage
on the purblind,
egotistical god;

Suppose her father, a river god,
doesn’t for once bungle matters,
like grumpy old patriarchy,
punishing the victim
when she calls for his help –

but thinks fast, looks sharp,
entreats Earth herself to arrest
his daughter’s would-be rapist.

Suppose Earth smiles, flexing
unsuspected muscle,
binding the stunned god
immovably to herself:
whip-like roots
and astonishing bark
as unyielding and unlike
the supple human skin
(he now regrets coveting)
as rough-hewn armour;

Suppose, too,
as goodwill gesture,
Earth grants him
the concession
of these freakish, bewitching,
rather glorious branches.

Though I cringe
my arrogant,
sunlike entitlement,
how I pushed against fate,
shocked by the nymph’s
triumphant escape; then
I’m relieved to say,
I writhed in shame
at what I’d done,
or tried to do; regretted
all the good
I might have wrought
when I could
and didn’t –
a god!

But what young man isn’t –
hale, swift of step;
and sound of limb –
convinced of being one?

Millennia later,
we can laugh about it, Earth and I.

Generous Earth, pulling me
from time’s headlong
linear progression –
saving my life just
as she saves us all, in richness, daily.

On sunny days the fathers in jeans
push their baby daughters in strollers,
through the park, gloating
over first words and first steps –

Can any of them guess
at my roots, at how the legend
went sideways;
the punishment
that wrung my divinity
of pride
but not entirely
of splendour?

pausing to take photos, exclaim
in pleasure and surprise –

sometimes running their hands
over my wild silvered form,
sometimes moving closer,

to tell the secrets
only a god can truly hear –
with compassion,
in perfect composure.

Rahat Kurd on behalf of Northern Catalpa Tree


September 02, 2018

Handprint in the Sand

A child dug a hole in the sand
And planted a young sapling there,
Watered it with care
And went away
Leaving in the sand
The imprint of his fingers
And his hand.

The sapling thrived and grew
And touched the sky
And yet,
It yearns still for the child
that left his handprint
In the sand.
— anonymous

Thank you for your beautiful poem. I'm part of a group of trees known as Redwoods. We've
been around for millions of years but are fewer in number now. As I get older, I find it hard to
remember a time when I was a sapling, small enough to be held by a child. There are many
children that play under my branches, but they seem more distant with the passing years.

Your poem was a beautiful reminder to attend to my roots as much as branches.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Sequoia Sempervirens


September 11, 2018

Mr 6401, a portrait

Drawing in his breath
Ramrod straight
Leaning back from the path
One part imperious headmaster
Standing tall
Over urchins in his charge
Looking down his chin
At low riding parents
Another part reaching
For higher and higher
Education in his
Constant craving for sky
Proud to have got this far
With none to touch him
Albeit somewhat pinched
Lonely on long evenings
And at the cold wakening of dawn
— anonymous

included in Mr 6401, a portrait above.

oh the stories we hold

so blessed to witness

to be shaped in time and by the elements

to know that we have touched and joined in spirit

for the creativity to flow

for the words to be shared

this is to live

Lori Snyder on behalf of Western Hemlock


September 12, 2018

Hi Tree,

I will be visiting from NZ toward the end of the month and look forward to meeting you but I
wonder if you are a Sawara cypress cultivar (Chamaecyparis pisifera) rather than a redwood? I
am looking forward to taking a closer look.
— anonymous

Thank you for your message. There has been some confusion about my origins. I hear there are other sequoias in Jericho Park, but I've always felt a bit different from them. Maybe it's my somewhat bristly blue needles or my rather firm bark that sets me apart? Any insight you have on my true classification would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of sequoias (or Sawara Cypress cultivar...)


September 13, 2018

Playing a version of silent in the trees on the grand piano in the Oak Room at Aberthau for all
the trees to hear
— anonymous


August 31, 2018

Hi tree 6413,

What is your biggest regret?
— anonymous

This was a difficult question to answer. I feel fortunate to have been planted in Jericho Park, so I don't feel that I should complain about the state of my life or my circumstances. I do worry about the changing climate and the effect this is having on coastal trees and beyond. So perhaps, I regret not being able to do more for all of the trees. Instead, I turn towards the plants, insects, microbiota and fungus in my immediate vicinity and contribute fully to this community in hope of a different future.

Please visit again soon. My delicate leaves are beginning to turn a beautiful golden yellow.

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Paper Birch


August 31, 2018

Hello tree 6406,

What is your fondest memory?
— anonymous

My fondest memory… I think it must be watching the Sikh grounds keepers cut the grass of the golf course that once stretched along the beach with a big lawn mower pulled by a horse called Old Tom. It was quite the slice of Vancouver society including a few celebrities, Edward the Prince of Wales for one, that came out to play golf on the greens of the old Jericho Country Club. A few of my older friends remember the 1890s when the first golf game was played out here, and because there were no roads yet the players had to come across English Bay by boat from the city. I remember when the last game was played in 1942 before the course closed for the construction of the RCAF’s seaplane base.

Thank you for your question.

Kind regards,

John Atkin on behalf of Northern Catalpa


August 29, 2018

Hello tree!
You looked so lovely today!
— anonymous

Thank you for sharing this beautiful image! I always think I look best when the sun shines through my leaves.

From your vantage point on the ground, I may seem quite tall, but I'm still growing. If the conditions are good, I could reach 150 feet when fully grown. There are a few other trees like me near by and I like to imagine what the park will be like once we all reach our full potential. Our large limbs spreading out until they touch. Our leaves creating a vast canopy. It might take close to 200 years for us to connect, but I'm patient.

Please visit again in the fall.

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Tulip Tree

P.S You may not recognize me right away because my leaves will be bright yellow!


August 29, 2018

Hello tree 6419!

It was nice to meet you today! I will see you every summer at my community center day camp.

You are tall, tilted and beautiful!
— anonymous

Thank you for your message and for appreciating my tilt! My favourite time of year is summer, when there are day camps. It's so much fun to have children playing nearby.

I think I live in one of the best locations near Aberthau Mansion. A lot of water flows down the hill and pools here in the winter and I love to keep my roots wet. I also really enjoy the company of so many other Cottonwood trees. Together we can share a lot of our cottony seeds in the spring time. This year we shook off so many that it looked like snow.

Hope you enjoyed the summer and are feeling ready for the fall!

Many thanks!

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Cottonwood


August 29, 2018

Dear Trees:

There is the tree of life and the tree of knowledge and the family tree.
There is the tree I sat in eating cherries and apples and plums and gages as a child - and the trees I climbed in order to prove myself.
There is the tree that provides shade and the tree that is home to the birds - and the tree that gives shelter from the storm
There are majestic trees and the tree that fell silently.
There are the trees that gave their lives in fires.
There are the trees that prevent you from seeing the forest around you.
There are the trees that give us roots and the trees that reach the skies.
There are trees that give us paper and wood and food and life.
There are trees with our names carved in love.
There are trees whose branches provide joy for children.
There are trees whose bark allows us to write down our dreams
But most importantly - there are the trees that give us breath.

Leave the trees be.
— anonymous

Thank you for this profound reflection on trees. We often think about our interactions with the people and I thought I would share a mirrored response from our perspective.

There are the people who sees us as symbols of great and important things
There are the people who enjoy our fruits, sometimes enough to collect and plants our seeds
There are the people that take refuge in our limbs, just like the birds and animals
There are the people that admire our beauty, but might not hear me fall when the time comes
There are the people that can only see us from the ground
There are the people that take a few of us for their needs, but leave most of us to thrive
There are people that carve their names into us in hopes of being remembered long after they are gone
There are people that learn to love us by swinging on our branches and hiding behind our trunks as children
There are people that provide soil and water for us to continue to live

Thank for this moment of reflection on our shared lives.


Holly Schmidt on behalf of the trees


August 29, 2018

Hello tree!
You looked so lovely today! 
— anonymous

Thank you for sharing this beautiful image! I always think I look best when the sun shines through my leaves. 

From your vantage point on the ground, I may seem quite tall, but I'm still growing. If the conditions are good, I could reach 150 feet when fully grown. There are a few other trees like me near by and I like to imagine what the park will be like once we all reach our full potential. Our large limbs spreading out until they touch. Our leaves creating a vast canopy. It might take close to 200 years for us to connect, but I'm patient.   

Please visit again in the fall. 

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Tulip Tree 

P.S You may not recognize me right away because my leaves will be bright yellow!


August 26, 2018

Hi tree!
I’m from up north in Fort St. John, BC . Its getting a bit chilly up here lately. Its been pretty rainy and smoky. I have a birch tree in my front yard, but the leaves haven’t turned yet. How tall are you, birch tree? Have your leaves turned yet? What’s the name of the lake you live by? Do you have a name? How old are you? Do you have any tree friends nearby ? How’s the weather in Vancouver been lately? I have to go back to school soon, I’m not very excited for that. I’ve been enjoying my summer quite a bit, it was really sunny. Has it been hot down there? Did you get a sunburn? I know I did.
— anonymous

Thank you for writing from so far away! I'm sorry to hear about the smoke. We've had a lot this summer as well and it does make me sad about the forest fires and loss of tree life. 

I'm delighted to hear that you have a birch tree in your front yard. I think we are a beautiful type of tree with our white, papery bark. My leaves are just starting to turn, now that is getting a little bit cooler. I'm around six or seven metres high, but still growing! I live near a small fresh water pond where there are lots of birds, frogs and insects. I'm in Jericho Park which is near the ocean on the west side of Vancouver.

I will miss the long days of summer too, but I do like it when the school year starts. A lot of students from Queen Mary Elementary School come to visit. It makes me happy to have so many children around me. 


August 26, 2018

Hello dear tree,
My question is: When throughout the year do you feel you are you your most elegant?
— Anonymous

Thank you for writing to me and what a great question!

I feel most elegant in the spring time when my branches are loaded with blossoms. My flowers grow on panicles in numbers up to fifty. They are small, white and frilly with pink centres. The rest of the year it is my umbrella-like groupings of leaves that steal the show. Be sure to watch under foot for my seeds or conkers, they can be quite large!

All the Best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Horse Chestnut


August 26, 2018

Dear Sequoia,

It’s nice to think that you were here before me and that you’ll be here long after me. While we’re all running around, you’re making the world a better place by existing. I hope the hot summer hasn’t gotten you down.
— anonymous

Thank you for your kind message. It has been a hot, dry summer and I have to admit I'm looking forward to the rainy months of winter. 

Trees do witness time differently, storing the effects of change in our growth rings. Seasons pass and change and the busy moving world of animals and insects seems to be a constant whirl around us. We like slowness and the feeling of sunlight, wind and rain throughout the day. Us Redwoods have been on the planet for millions of years and hopefully, we will be around for millions more.

Thank you for acknowledging our contribution to the Earth. Plant life makes up 80% of the biomass on Earth. Through photosynthesis, we maintain oxygen levels in the atmosphere making it possible for animals to live and thrive. Despite our differences, we really need each other.


August 26, 2018

Hi tree,

Hope you are well, looking a little bare. We’re visiting from Toronto for the first time, very nice so far! I was wondering how old you are?
— anonymous

Thank you for your email. This summer has been quite hot and dry. I'm pretty tolerant of most conditions, but still glad that it's cooling down a bit. While I don't have many leaves to display, my twisted trunk and scaly bark make up for it. In the spring my white flowers are quite showy and fragrant as well.

I'm glad you're enjoying Vancouver. This beach is a beautiful place to live, with it's lovely view of the ocean and mountains. The salt spray can be a bit much at times, but overall I feel pretty lucky to live in Jericho Park. I don't know my exact age, but if I had to guess, I would say I'm around 20 to 30 years old. 

All the best,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Northern Catalpa 


August 24, 2018

Hi 6413

I stood underneath you today and watched a heron land on the tree opposite. Shortly after landing, a hummingbird flew beside the heron and I was struck by the difference in their size.

I visit Jericho marsh through all seasons and was concerned today by how dry it is. At first, I thought it was quiet but soon heard the sound of bees feeding off the last blossoms of summer, ducks cleaning themselves in what little water was left, turtles (or frogs?) jumping into the water.

Are you feeling dry this summer?

Thanks for giving me some shade today.
— anonymous

Thank you for your email and your concern. As a birch I do prefer wetter weather. If I reach my roots out I will find moisture, but I would rather have the feeling of a good solid rain.

I'm glad you like to spend time near the marsh. I feel fortunate to be so close to it. There's always so much conversation between the birds, the frogs and the insects. It's a busy community, even when it's dry. My favourite time of year is the spring when the Canadian geese have their goslings in tow. If you listen carefully you can hear them nibbling on the grass. They also produce lots of nutrients to share with the plants and trees.

Hopefully I will see you again by the marsh.


August 24, 2018

Dear Oak Tree,

I just wanted to let you know that I so much appreciate you. You are so beautiful and you provide lovely shade and make this picnic area so welcoming.

You also remind me of my childhood. When I was a little girl, every fall I would go for a stroll in the Oak Alley with my grandparents. We would collect beautiful colourful oak leaves from the ground and then dry them in between the pages of albums. It was in Kiev - another country, another continent, but your brothers and sisters in that area are just as beautiful.

My grandparents are not with me anymore, and I don’t have those albums filled with dry leaves, but looking at you brings back some of my most cherished memories.
— anonymous

Thank you for your beautiful message. I'm so pleased that you enjoy spending time under the shade of my branches.

Your story about collecting leaves and preserving them between the pages really touched me. As a tree, I witness humans of all ages coming and going, aging and changing. Perhaps time passes differently for me because I am rooted to one place. But it does pass, and I grow taller as seasons change.

I thank you for the image of sibling oak trees in Kiev. It's nice to imagine their leaves turning colour in the fall at the same time as mine. If you are passing by again in the fall, please take some of my leaves to press in a book.

Warm regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of English Oak


August 22, 2018

What kind of species are you oh great tree? Are you something we can plant for the province’s assisted migration program for trees? How old are you? Do you like warm and dry summers?
— anonymous

I'm Populus Alba, but my friends call me White or Silver Poplar because of the colour of my bark and the underside of my leaves. I'm an older tree as you can tell by my height. I may reach 20-30 metres at my peak. 

I like living on the beach front. Unlike some other trees, I don't mind the salt spray. I'm not so interested in migrating to other areas, I mostly like to stick to the city. But, as the climate changes, I may have to think more about where my fluffy white cottony seeds blow in the spring time. For now, the dry summers suit me fine. 

I hope you're enjoying the last bit of summer too. Come visit me when the colour of my leaves change in the fall. Not to be vain, but they turn a beautiful yellow colour.

Kind regards,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of White Poplar


August 22, 2018


I would like to know more about the sequoia tree.

— anonymous

The sequoia tree labelled at Jericho park, (Sequoia sempervirens) is part of an interesting sub-group of the cypress family called redwoods. Redwoods are a fascinating remainder of a plant world that existed millions of years ago. Up until a few million years ago, redwoods had a global distribution that included a broader range in North America, Europe and Asia. With dramatic physical and climatic changes on Earth, populations of redwoods became fragmented. The once ubiquitous group of redwood trees has now been reduced to isolated populations in California, the South Eastern US and pockets of Asia. 

In California there are the coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) which only grow in a narrow band down the Pacific Coast and the giant redwood (Sequioadendron giganteum) which grows in small pockets inland but on the western side of the Sierra Nevada in California. Both of these trees have remarkable growth potential - the coastal redwood having the record of tallest tree at 115 m and the giant redwood having the most massive growth potential of any non-clonal organism. These are common trees in parks and gardens in Metro Vancouver. Coast redwood has needle-like leaves and giant redwood has scaly leaves. Both have large, buttressed trunks and thick spongy bark. The thick bark is an adaptation to fire and in a normal forest fire, will resist burning. An interesting detail to note about the buttressed trunks is that in shallow soil, the trunks will buttress more to help stabilize the tree. This is particularly evident on giant redwoods. Check out the specimens just south and west of the entrance to the Stanley Park pitch and putt to see the biggest trucnks in Vancouver.  

Somewhat related are the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) and swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum). These are both common trees in Vancouver parks and gardens and are often planted in moist or wet soils. Although very similar in a appearance and their unusual deciduous habit, they come from small isolated habitats on either side of the world. Swamp cypress grows in swamps in the SE USA. Metasequoia was thought to be extinct until some were found growing in China in 1943. There is one significant population of about 5000 trees and a few other populations of a few dozen left. Deforestation due to agricultural production of rice has destroyed dawn redwood habitat. Dawn redwood and swamp cypress are both deciduous. This is unusual as conifers are often referred to as "evergreens". This adaptation developed millions of years ago when Earth was much warmer and they grew in arctic latitudes near the north pole. The strategy to defoliate was an adaptation to manage winters that had near 24 hour of darkness. As the climate has cooled, these species have migrated to more southern latitudes where there is no need to defoliate in winter but they have held on to this adaptation and lose their leaves anyway.

Where to go to see good redwoods in Metro Vancouver:

  • VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver

  • Redwood Park, Surrey

  • Stanley Park, Vancouver

  • Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver

  • 16th St Boulevard, Point Grey, Vancouver

Thanks for being interested!

Egan Davis on behalf of Sequoia


August 22,2018

Hello from Berlin! Dear Vancouver tree, I saw your ID on Facebook where people are sharing your project across the world. Since I found you on Facebook, my question is: what’s the most important message you think my friends should share about the Canadian trees involved in this project?
— anonymous

Thank you for taking the time to send a note from so far away. I realize we haven't met in person, so I will describe myself a little. I'm a rather large Horse chestnut tree, of a certain age, living in the West Point Grey neighbourhood. I have a nice living situation near Aberthau Mansion where I can greet visitors as they enter the parking lot. Summer is my favourite time of year because my umbrella-like groupings of leaves provide shade from the sun and cover from the rain for people as they come and go. 

I think the most important message to send on behalf of the Canadian trees involved in the project is that we are part of an ecological community with deep connections that aren't always apparent to people. Slow down and take the time to get to know us better. You're part of our community too.

If you have a few moments, you might want to stop and say hello to some Berlin friends of mine along Unter der Linden. 


Holly Schmidt on behalf of Horse Chestnut Tree


August 21, 2018

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Oh tree ID#6396
How we love you !
— anonymous

Thank you both for the poem! I realize we haven't met in person, so I will describe myself a little. I'm a rather large Horse chestnut tree, of a certain age, living in the West Point Grey neighbourhood. I have a nice living situation near Aberthau Mansion where I can greet visitors as they enter the parking lot. Summer is my favourite time of the year because there are so many weddings. If the bride is lucky and there is a little rain, my branches with umbrella-like groupings of leaves provide lots of cover. 

Drop by and say hi, if you're in the neighbourhood!


Holly Schmidt on behalf of Horse Chestnut


August 11, 2018

Happy Saturday tree!
— anonymous

Happy Saturday!

I'm not sure what brought you to this particular path in Jericho Park, but I'm pleased that you sent me a message. I tend to lean away from the path, hoping not to be noticed, but secretly I appreciate the occasional glance. As a Western Hemlock, people often mistake me for the poisonous plant that was used to kill Socrates. I'm not at all related to that plant, but the confusion helps me to keep to myself in this darker section of the park. I like the shady side of things and prefer to grow under larger trees. 

Thanks for writing,

Holly Schmidt on behalf of Western Hemlock