6 min read

The Impact of Climate Change on Tree Migration

The Greenway Stimulus // Visual Tour of Wildlife Crossings // Let's not abolish city parks // Film Trilogy: The Trees Remember

Greetings!

Summer has arrived early with a sizzling heat wave in much of the northern United States. It has made it tough for me to get out on the trails which means a bit more time spent researching and reading articles on trees, trails and parks! There are some good pieces this week and I particularly love the ‘The Trees Remember’ short films produced by REI. I want to try to add more video on a weekly basis. There’s so much to dig into on the topic and I am particularly on the lookout for art projects that incorporate trees and parks. If you have any tips or recommendations, please drop me a line treetrailpark@bryanformhals.com


🍃How Trees Migrate

As scientists scramble to learn more about what drives tree migration, others are planning for the future. To preserve biodiversity, both citizens and researchers are employing interventionist tactics once steeped in controversy like “assisted migration” — taking tree seedlings and planting them in new locations. Rising global temperatures may force wildlife agencies and forest managers to decide what to save and what to leave behind.

This 10 minute video from Verge does a good job of covering a topic I knew very little about: tree migration. The video starts out following Dr. Angie Patterson as she uses a shotgun to shoot off leaves at the top of the canopy in Black Rock Forest to understand how climate change is impacting the migration of northern red oak tree.

From there we learn about come controversial ideas about assisted migration and some of the complex issues that will arise when we try to save and preserve ecosystems impacted by climate change.

Spoiler: there are no easy answers, and no matter what, there will be serious consequences for plant life. Bottom line: we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions right now.


🚴‘Greenway Stimulus’ Could Create an Interstate Trail System for Cyclists and Walkers

‘Greenway Stimulus’ Could Bring Boom in Bike and Walking Trails
Active-transportation advocates are campaigning for $10 billion in infrastructure funding to connect cities with paths and create an interstate system for cyclists and walkers.
Nationwide, greenway boosters are thinking even bigger. A chorus of advocates believe that the time has come for a “Greenway Stimulus.” About 200 environmental and active-transportation organizations, including Carta’s, are stepping up pressure to carve $10 billion out of the Biden administration’s prospective American Jobs Plan, or corresponding infrastructure-related bills, to help complete hundreds of proposed walking and bike trail projects around the country.

The ultimate goal: a nationwide network akin to the interstate highway system — but for cyclists and walkers instead of cars and trucks.

With all the talk about infrastructure spending, it’s good to see that there’s a serious push to build out our active transportation network in the form of an interconnected greenway network. It really seems like a win win in all cases. We build more green spaces, we get people out of cars, and we help mitigate the damaging impact of climate change on our urban spaces. Read the full article in CityLab.

There are plenty of details to dig into regarding the proposals, history and funding. But please, let’s get excited about Greenways!


🙅‍♂️ Bad Take of the Week: No, We Shouldn’t Abolish City Parks

I would gladly pay $5 or $10 to take my kids to the park if it meant a reduction in my property taxes. But private parks don’t have to be funded through user fees. In New York City, Central Park receives the bulk of its funding from a non-profit that raises most of its money through donations, and Bryant Park was revitalized, and is entirely paid for, by a private company that collects revenue from local businesses, concession fees and public events.

There is, in other words, no reason why municipal governments need to be responsible for so much green space, or why discussions about the proper use of public lands needs to be so political. If advocates want space for a homeless encampment, sell them some land and let them fund it through private donations.

This column from National Post writer Jesse Kline is rightfully getting mocked for it’s absurd framing. But he’s making the standard right wing argument that private enterprise is more effective and efficient at managing than governments. Of course he doesn’t even consider that forces people to pay for parks would only exacerbate the equity problems around access to urban green spaces.

I think it’s important to understand this perspective exists but thankfully it seems parks are one area where political polarization isn’t at the extremes. Of course, whenever you talk about government funding, conservatives will argue for less, so it’s a constant fight but the argument for more parks and green spaces is generally convincing.

The major consideration going forward, from reading, will be about equitable access and the impacts of green spaces on the surrounding communities. There are issues that certainly need to be addressed, and sometimes they’re very challenging. But hell no to abolishing public parks. lol. 🤦


🦌Take a Visual Tour of Wildlife Crossings

Scientists warn that even as wildlife crossings gain traction, they are only one piece of the work needed to reconnect fragmented populations of wildlife. And the environmental value of crossings will backfire if they are used to get new roads approved in places where the impact to animals is too high.

“I want everyone to be super excited about wildlife crossings, but I don’t want people to forget that a wildlife crossing is like a Band-Aid,” said Trisha White, an environmentalist who was integral in moving wildlife crossings from the fringes to the mainstream in the United States. The structures, she emphasized, can only fix a small part of the road’s damage to wildlife habitat.

“The road,” she said, “is like a wound.”

This is an amazing multimedia feature in the NYTimes on wildlife crossings with plenty of great video clips of various animals using these structures. I remember when I first saw one of these a few years ago.

My mind was blown! I have been fascinated with pedestrian overpasses for several years because they are often cold, alien structures. So when I saw these crossings, I immediately wondered why we couldn’t make the pedestrian bridges more green and integrated with nature.


🌲Feel Good Tweet of the Week


Art: The Trees Remember

Spanning across 60 years, “The Trees Remember” is a series of compelling, reflective and sometimes humorous short fiction films that feature Black women of different ages growing and thriving in the outdoors — exploring connection through movement, stewardship and grace.

This is a beautiful trilogy of short films by filmmaker Angela Tucker produced by REI. It’s also a great example of content marketing which I hope we see more of from brands. Making great fictional content is probably one of the most challenging creative endeavors so there’s certainly some risk, because sometimes, it just doesn’t work but we need brands to put more money to these endeavors to help support the arts and tell these important stories.


Further Reading


I’m a photographer and digital strategist from Saint Cloud, Minnesota. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram & Twitter