The Ridges Sanctuary will host its annual Ridges Reads book club starting in January 2024. This year’s program, titled The Root Issue, will explore the theory of tree-to-tree communication, as well as the scientific evidence that supports the theory and the ongoing debate that surrounds it.
Discussions will center on Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard and The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wholleban, as well as articles that question their research on “wood-wide webs,” a term coined to describe the mycorrhizal networks connecting trees and other organisms in a forest.
In their books, both Simard and Wholleben claim that trees not only exchange nutrients through these mutualistic relationships, but also send warnings and cooperate and care for each other. Some scientific experts refute these claims, stating that there is not enough evidence to affirm these social relationships.
“We recognize the value in conducting scientific research and empowering the community to take part in these discussions,” said Anna Foster, Ridges director of programming. “Our goal in selecting this topic is simply to explore the scientific understanding of trees with curiosity and an open mind.”
The free book club will be offered both in-person at the Ridges’ nature center and online through Zoom. It will run every three weeks beginning Jan. 10. Virtual dates are on Tuesdays (Jan. 9, Jan. 30 and Feb. 20) 6-8 pm; in-person dates are on Thursdays (Jan. 11, Feb. 1 and Feb. 22) 6-8 pm.
Space is limited, so participants are asked to register in advance by visiting ridgessanctuary.org/ridges-reads or calling 920.839.2802.
The Ridges Sanctuary is located at 8166 state Hwy. 57 in Baileys Harbor.