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Baltimore’s hidden life of trees

By Marissa Gillett | Jun 08, 2019

Baltimore’s hidden life of trees

Over the past couple of weeks, the Digital Bookmobile has traveled all over Maryland introducing Libby to students and library patrons across the state. In between events, I was able to stuff myself to the brim with seafood, taste a variety of local brews and explore some of Maryland’s most exciting offerings.

The nature lover in me has never been able to resist a stroll through the woods on a beautiful day. In the past, I would exclusively seek out hikes with lake views, scenic overlooks, or picturesque waterfalls to make my time in nature seem worthwhile. Then I read “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben and it became clear to me that even the seemingly simple aspects of Mother Earth have the capability to be fascinating. Wohlleben does an excellent job of providing scientific facts in a way that is easy for any reader to digest. Within two days of cracking the book open for the first time, I had finished the entire thing—the fastest I’ve ever personally finished a nonfiction title!

So, before dropping off my latest OverDrive assistant at the airport, I insisted we first drive just north of Baltimore and take a walk around the Cylburn Arboretum. The grounds at Cylburn Arboretum include 20 gardens, 3.5 miles of trails, a historic mansion, a visitor center and a collection of trees that date back to the late 1800s. We only spent 1.5 hours on the property, but easily could have stayed all day without seeing everything there was to offer. The best part? Entry to the grounds is totally free!

My personal favorite activity at Cylburn was the tree tour, where visitors are guided to roughly 22 trees throughout the property. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t a tree just a tree? Wood, bark and leaves? The answer is yes, trees are those things, but Wohllenben shows readers that trees are so much more than just those three things. In fact, he explains that trees are more like humans than you may think.

If you ever find yourself in the Baltimore area, I highly recommend adding Cylburn Arboretum to your itinerary, but not without first checking to see if “The Hidden Life of Trees” is offered in your library’s digital collection. After reading or listening to Wohlleben’s international bestseller, not only will you thank me for introducing you to an incredible piece of writing, but you’ll be able to experience the arboretum in a way you never thought possible.