On Finding the Mother Tree
Submitted by the Event Organizer
Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence and hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in ways that are dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls in James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.
Suzanne’s inspiring and accessible work illuminates 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. Trees have agency about the future, eliciting warnings and mounting defenses. They compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication—characteristics ascribed to human intelligence and traits that are the essence of civil societies—and at the center of all this complexity and nuance—the Mother Trees, mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.
In her latest book, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, Suzanne 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 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.
Join scholar and CIIS staff member Laura Pustarfi for a conversation about Suzanne’s life and work, her latest book, and learn more about the 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 our survival.