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Urban trees are not cell phone towers

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Matt Ritter has visited every town in western California with a population of over 40,000 to check out their trees. That is what you do if you’re going to create a guidebook called, A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us as Ritter did (Heyday, 2011).

Other highlights (things I learned) from the Conversations with Cal Poly Authors event at Kennedy Library that featured Matt Ritter in conversation with Enrica Lovaglio Costello include:

– “Without trees the city is a scab on the earth.” Attributed Chuck Gilstrap, a retired urban forester in Modesto. Awesome visual in my mind’s eye that involves a Google Earth view that resembles a skinned knee.

– People write funny emails in which they explain their amusing demands for nature. Ritter read an actual email he received from someone who wanted to know what tree to plant in their yard that met these requirements:

“A tree that blooms nicely, doesn’t grow big, doesn’t drop any leaves, flowers or fruit.” This email lead to the cell phone tower joke.

– Trees are highly political. Perhaps I would have known this if I was a home owner.

– I love Eucalyptus trees because they smell good and remind me of my grandparent’s house. Other people do not.

– Botanists make bad drivers.

– Liquid Ambers are the most popular tree in California.

– The tree on the cover of the book is in San Luis Obispo, on the corner of Beach and Pismo.

To learn more about trees, including what cities are good for tree tourism, which one tree a botanist would choose to survive in a post-apocalyptic world and why there should be more variety in the California tree-scape, listen to the podcast. Enrica asks fabulous questions from a designer and tree-lover perspective both.

This podcast was recorded on February 3, 2012.

Visit Cal Poly Authors to learn more about the speakers who are on faculty at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

– Karen Lauritsen