Not surprisingly, I always think of my dad on Father’s Day. He was born during the Great Depression, the third of six children. During that time, my grandfather bravely took the family to a remote town in Northern Ontario in the hope of finding work and a better life. For my dad, it was a wondrous world filled with trees and other green spaces, begging to be explored. There he developed a respect for all living things and a love of science.

I truly believe that is what trees do; encourage us to learn about, and respect, living things. Whether trees stand alone on a city street or are grouped as a stand, a woodland, or a forest, they teach us about life. They allow us to observe birds chirping and jostling for position on their branches. They offer shelter to squirrels, rabbits and other small animals. They mark the changing of the seasons year after year.

For some of us, trees are the only gateway to nature. For my dad, they served as the backdrop of our informal biology lessons. Even though I am an adult, in my mind’s eye, I still see him as he once was when I was a child – a tall, gentle presence, and a patient teacher…just like a tree.