New Haven is definitely a city. There are concert venues and drugstores and dance clubs and like 800 pizza restaurants. But there are also TREES. Lots and lots of trees. This is something that, theoretically, I should have noticed earlier. However, it took enrolling in a class called “Trees: Environmental Biology & Global Significance” (colloquially “Trees”) for me to become fully aware of the arborescent beauty all around me.
First of all, trees in general are fascinating. A couple fun facts I’ve learned from this class so far: palm trees are not trees, trees can communicate with each other through fungi, and trees are potentially immortal. Even the most tree-hating, oxygen-despising person could get behind trees after taking this lecture.
What’s especially wonderful about Trees is that it gives us the opportunity to go outside. On Thursday, we split up into discussion sections and wandered the Science Hill area looking at various trees. There was snow on the ground but it was warm and sunny.
An email we recieved from our TFs saying we were headed outside. Sigh…
New Haven is famous for its elms, but our teaching fellow Frank, a grad student at the School of Forestry, pointed out oaks and willows and a white pine. One tree was spotted with what looked like orange scales and Frank had the sad duty of informing us that it was diseased. The football player behind me made a sympathetic noise. I was equally heartbroken. It seems strange to feel so deeply about a tree, but such is the nature of a class well-taught. You begin to care about the material without even realizing it.
Frank giving us a closer look at a nice branch.
Even though Trees is not particularly easy (cell biology!!) and I’m pretty sure the midterm went BADLY for me, I’ve loved being in the class so much and am looking forward to the second half of the semester. More trees! Trees! Trees! Trees!