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Between Earth and Sky

Our Intimate Connections to Trees

Nalini Nadkarni (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 336 pages
ISBN: 9780520261655
October 2009
$26.95, £22.00
Other Formats Available:
World-renowned canopy biologist Nalini Nadkarni has climbed trees on four continents with scientists, students, artists, clergymen, musicians, activists, loggers, legislators, and Inuits, gathering diverse perspectives. In Between Earth and Sky, a rich tapestry of personal stories, information, art, and photography, she becomes our captivating guide to the leafy wilderness above our heads. Through her luminous narrative, we embark on a multifaceted exploration of trees that illuminates the profound connections we have with them, the dazzling array of goods and services they provide, and the powerful lessons they hold for us. Nadkarni describes trees' intricate root systems, their highly evolved and still not completely understood canopies, their role in commerce and medicine, their existence in city centers and in extreme habitats of mountaintops and deserts, and their important place in folklore and the arts. She explains tree fundamentals and considers the symbolic role they have assumed in culture and religion. In a book that reawakens our sense of wonder at the fascinating world of trees, we ultimately find entry to the entire natural world and rediscover our own place in it.
Introduction: View from the Top

1. What Is a Tree?
2. Goods and Services
3. Shelter and Protection
4. Health and Healing
5. Play and Imagination
6. Connections to Time
7. Signs and Symbols
8. Spirituality and Religion
9. Mindfulness

Scientific Names of Trees in the Text
Recommended Readings
Poetry Credits
Nalini Nadkarni is the author of Rainforests, with J. Johnson, Monteverde: The Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest, with N.T. Wheelwright, and Forest Canopies, with M.L. Lowman. She teaches in the Environmental Studies Program at The Evergreen State College and is President of the International Canopy Network. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Natural History, Glamour, and National Geographic and she has appeared in numerous television documentaries. In 2002, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to better extend her work to the public.
Nalini Nadkarni is the 2010 recipient of the National Science Board Public Service Award, presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions in public understanding of science in the United States.
“NALINI Nadkarni is a canopy ecologist who blends immense field experience with considerable writing talent. The result is a wide-ranging and eye-opening book about trees and our connections to them.”—New Scientist
“Presents a wealth of entertaining arboreal facts and figures, but her personal anecdotes are the book's most compelling and inimitable feature.”—Publishers Weekly
“Don't think that Between Earth and Sky is just another environmental tome. Nadkarni's writing is like a love letter to trees that effortlessly mixes poetry and prose with environmentalism, culture, history and science. . . . An engaging and satisfying read for anyone. More importantly, Nadkarni's book succeeds at its goal-after reading it, you may find yourself in a forest, park, or even your own backyard, looking at a tree with a new sense of wonder and admiration.”—Foreword
“Anyone who loves trees, who admires their steadfastness, who finds in their presence a certain peace and calm, will love this book.”—Canadian Field-Naturalist
“Uplifting and edifying. . . . Remarkable and compelling. . . . Nadkarni has given us much more than a book that explicates tree ecology; indeed, her book is a kind of encyclopedic examination of nearly EVERYTHING that has to do with trees, especially with the way they protect us, heal us, give us hope, inspire us to be creative, and lend spirituality to otherwise blighted lives.”—Ecology
“Nadkarni introduces readers to trees in a stunning variety of ways, including from a perch high in the canopy. . . . With an imagination matching her physical dexterity, Nadkarni has brought new views into the tree tops by hosting creative writers, an opera singer and a rapper, musicians, a blind person, modern dancers, and Inuit people who have no trees in their homeland.”—Frederick J. Swanson, Us Forest Service Oregon Historical Qtly
“Nadkarni is a wonder. . . . [The book] covers an astonishing array of links between trees and humans. . . . Nadkarni is one of those people who can generate interest in any subject from the rolling momentum of her own enthusiasm, so every page enthralls.”—Terrain Magazine
“[Nadkarni’s] perception of [trees’] value to humankind is thoughtful and wide-ranging.”—Chicago Botanic Garden
“This is a significant book and one that should be read widely by those who care about environmental justice; its best parts are the tree-related poetry and Nadkarni’s personal stories of her experiences with trees.”—Englewood Review Of Books
“Few can claim as intimate a connection to trees as Nalini Nadkarni. . . . Rich, multifaceted, [and] personal. . . [the book] is a treasure trove.”—Isle: Interdis Stds In Lit & Environ
"A lovely work of writing and a rich scientific exploration of trees, suffused with poetry and humanity. Between Earth and Sky takes us on a journey through the wonders of the forest canopy and the web of spiritual and literal connections we have with trees. Nalini Nadkarni is a unique figure in forest ecology—as a pioneering tree climber and explorer, and a topnotch scientist, she's a hero in a world where heroes don't come around often."—Richard Preston, author of The Wild Trees and The Hot Zone

“Besides cutting them, climbing them, and planting them, the urge to anthropomorphize trees, make them into metaphors, and worship them, is practically universal. Many people feel an intimate connection to trees. Nadkarni's scientific, personal, and literary book shows why, on so many levels, this should be so. Although the ancient Chinese thought of humans as the connection between earth and sky, my vote would go to trees.”—Liza Dalby, author of East Wind Melts the Ice

“From mosses to giant figs, from nail polish to turpentine, from poetry to rap music, world-acclaimed arbornaut Nadkarni weaves science and story together as she shares her passion for trees, reminding us that forests and humans are inextricably linked.” –Margaret D. Lowman, author of Life in the Treetops and It's a Jungle Up There

“I came in from an afternoon of splitting firewood to find this book waiting for me in the mail. It's as wonderful a compendium as one could imagine of all things that make trees such special companions, rooted and steady and patient and full of glory.”—Bill McKibben, author of The Bill McKibben Reader

“An epic and lyrical look at trees—an exploration that ranges from molecules and metabolism to ecology, poetry and dance—so breathtaking and eye-opening that it will be impossible to ever look at a tree or think about the world in the same way again.”—Thomas E. Lovejoy, President, The Heinz Center
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Interview with the author, Nalini M. Nadkarni

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