Country News

Sharing the stories of trees

By Jamieson Salter

Author Sophie Cunningham says trees hold a multitude of narratives in their branches.

From original settlers to current climate strikes, trees have witnessed history.

Ms Cunningham recently released a book called City of Trees, containing a series of essays on trees and wildlife, and she spoke at last week's paddock tree forum in Shepparton.

The book shares the stories surrounding trees, from families having a picnic under their shade to the products made from their materials.

One story of the association between trees and history in the book is that of a red gum tree carved into a throne for Melbourne's first Catholic Church in the 1890s.

From Melbourne's inner city to the olive trees of Italy, Ms Cunningham's experiences discovering trees have taken her around the world.

Her personal favourite tree is a 2000-year-old giant sequoia in California.

She was also inspired by the Urban Forest Strategy in Melbourne to adapt the city's nature in response to climate change.

As a part of the project, 77000 trees were given their own email addresses and received love letters.

After seeing people's connection with trees, Ms Cunningham created an Instagram page called sophtreeofday where she posts photographs every day of trees that have been sent to her, as well as her own tree discoveries.

Find the Instagram page at: