Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Native Plants for Natural Places

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

October 9, 2007

Submitted by Pauline Donaldson

Rebuilding the forests of the future with Diana Beresford-Kroeger

“Who speaks for the trees, speaks for all of nature . . .” are words in the foreword to Arboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest, an inspiring book which won an American Arbour Day Foundation Award in 2005 for exemplary educational work on trees and forests. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are pleased to announce that Arboretum America’s author Diana Beresford-Kroeger will present “Native Trees for Natural Places” on Thursday, October 18th as part of the lecture series “Our Natural World: Conservation Challenges.” The talk will explore conservation issues for trees, and much more, as our speaker’s knowledge embraces what trees mean and have meant for sustainability as well as their potential in design and medicine.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger is an author and researcher specializing in classical botany and medical biochemistry. A ‘renegade-scientist’ whose ideas have been featured on CBC Radio’s flagship program “Ideas”, and elsewhere, she now writes and conducts research from her extensive gardens near Merrickville, but is still strongly influenced by childhood experiences in the beautiful Irish countryside.

Through her eyes and keen research, our native trees are revealed as distinct personalities, each a complex balance of eco-function and biochemistry fine-tuned over millennia on this continent. Maples, for example, central to the ancient tradition of syrup production, are a source of uncontaminated water to many animals. They also produce powerful anti-feeding compounds, but how have deer found a way to avoid these?

In Arboretum America (2003) and A Garden for Life (2004), Beresford-Kroeger describes bioplanning as a way to rearrange a garden, making it a harmonious natural habitat which can benefit all, including the human occupants. In a broader sense, bioplanning can help put back together the complex web of the natural world which has been taken apart. In so doing, the great forests of North America can be recreated and their important reservoir of molecules preserved. “Trees … oxygenate the planet and bank carbon dioxide into some of the most exciting medicines of our times. It is time to plant trees to rebuild the forests of the future, so that we can live again in the true cathedrals of our natural world” says Beresford-Kroeger.

All are invited to “Native Plants for Natural Places” Thursday October 18th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. There is a fee of $5 for non-members. For more information, please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Joyce Clinton at 613-257-4879 or see MVFN’s website at