April 01, 2018

Consider Us Family

By: Roberta S. Batley

In early February, I was fortunate enough to help represent the Family Law Section at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. During the small window of free time I had  before my flight, I took a tour of Stanley Park with Chair-Elect Melissa Avery and Delegate Anita Ventrelli. The tour driver showed us several western red cedars that were more than 700 years old, which was  absolutely  awe  inspiring.  But  even  more  interesting  to me were the several “nurse stumps” he also pointed out. The driver explained   that even though it appeared that these old trees were dead or dying, the tree trunks were hosting seedlings that had either sprouted up on top of the trunks or beside them. The root systems of the nurse stumps were still active, and they were nourishing the seedlings as they grew. Once the roots of the seedlings become established, the seedlings will eventually overtake the nurse trees. In fact, after a massive storm in which the Park lost over 10,000 trees and needed to rebuild, a number of the old western red cedars were chopped in half to serve as nurse trees for seedlings.

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