“The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”

-John Muir

On-site Squirrel Cavity Studies

Cavity on Site

Cavity Activity Map

According to “What’s That Clump of Leaves?” by Art Shomo, there are two types of nests: tree cavity dens and leaf nests. The nest is at least 20 feet up to the tree,  and during winter, the squirrels move the nests from the outer branch to the main trunk to get more stable structures, by weaving twigs and compacted leaves together. Dens are good for keep squirrels’ body temperature and protect them better from extreme weather conditions, which are usually with 6 to 8 inches diameter. Oaks, beeches, elms and red maples are ideal trees for squirrels to build dens or nests. In the author’s study area West Virginia, gray squirrels prefer dens more than leaf nests.

On our site, there are many trees with possible cavities, especially the area where the red circle is at on the “Squirrels’ Cavity Location and Active Area” map. However, it is very hard to find a nest on our trees, which seems to be consistent with the result by other researchers as mentioned above. We remember during the winter time, there was one nest possibly on C3, as it is getting warm, the nest is gone. But the cavity is definitely a proof of how the squirrels are playing around and actually try to live in these oak trees, just like this photo is showing here on our tree C3:


How far can squirrels travel?

According to a test by United Exterminating Company to trap and track the squirrels through both using straight-line runs and zig-zag patterns to different areas and spray paint to mark them, it turns out:1- 2miles: squirrels don’t have any trouble getting back

1- 2miles: squirrels don’t have any trouble getting back

5-7 miles (with zig-zag pattern): returns were rare, 1 out of 15-20.

10-12 miles: Occasionally, there were squirrels returning back, but less than a half-dozen times

25 miles: only one surprising return

Conclusion: activity range is less than 5 mile. It is very rare for squirrels to go larger than 10 miles.

So the squirrels really can travel everywhere to search places to have fun and for food resources.

The Activity of Gathering


This was the order of human institutions: first the forests, after that the huts, then the villages, next the cities, and finally the academies.

–Giambattista Vico, The New Science

In his amazing book Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, author Robert Pogue Harrison writes that “Civil society comes into being through the activity of gathering.” He references Vico on the ordering and evolution of this gathering (above), and further cites him on the Latin word lex, or law:

First it must have meant a collection of acorns. Thence we believe is derived ilex, as it were illex, the oak (as certainly aquilex means collector of waters); for the oak produces the acorns by which the swine are drawn together. Lex was next a collection of vegetables, from which the latter were called legumina. Later on, at a time when vulgar letters had not yet been invested for writing down the laws, lex by a necessity of civil nature must have meant a collection of citizens, or the public parliament, so that the presence of the people was the lex, or “law.”… Finally, collecting letters, and making, as it were, a sheaf of them for each word, was called legere, reading.

How to Interview a Tree

What are the ways that plants “feel out their worlds”? Natasha Myers asks this question as she explores plant sensing and a broader “plant turn” in contemporary critical thought:


Alongside Myers, John Hartigan, editor of Aesop’s Anthropology, invites us to think about what it means to listen with plants. To think with and through and alongside other living things. “Living thinking” (rather than object thinking) is a mode of thought “that is relational, that recognizes how living ‘things’ interpenetrate and, in reality, are not things at all.”

Native Trees by WS Merwin

Neither my father nor my mother knew
the names of the trees
where I was born
what is that
I asked and my
father and mother did not
hear they did not look where I pointed
surfaces of furniture held
the attention of their fingers
and across the room they could watch
walls they had forgotten
where there were no questions
no voices and no shade
Were there trees
where they were children
where I had not been
I asked
were there trees in those places
where my father and my mother were born
and in that time did
my father and my mother see them
and when they said yes it meant
they did not remember
What were they I asked what were they
but both my father and my mother
said they never knew



In the zine The Cell Tree, author Nolan Boomer evaluates the tree as an instrument of communication. In the wake of the recently popular book by Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees, he takes for granted that the interconnection of tree organisms through mycorrhizal systems has become embedded cultural thinking. Boomer reminds us that trees have for some years been tapped as disguises for infrastructural cell towers and that “tree diagrams” deserve critique as inadequately complex visual display methods. The tree is being used for its very ability to absorb these uses with neutrality, as Jesse has noted. Part of the tree’s elusiveness may be in its ability to wear well so many guises that are actually obstacles to our understanding.

Trees, whether living or in decay, are points in larger systems. In the allee, they are placed into a selective grid, expressive of a Cartesian control over the measured landscape. Here the tree communicates the designer’s strong desire for spatial form and order, an architectural mimetic that also is transformative of the archetype of the forest. The tree remains productive.

Is it possible that trees might yet project some of what they are back to or onto us? If trees are communicators, then we must actualize ourselves as receivers. The tree has been encoded culturally and distanced spatially–both from natural communities with other trees and from a richer haptic association with humans. The tree has been a focus as an object, and as an object, it is something we can never know. To close the subject-object gap, we might need to recognize the tree, physically and metaphorically, by standing alongside it.

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