Lauren E. Oakes performance on Thursday April 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Lauren E. Oakes

Book in Common: In Search of the Canary Tree

Thursday, April 2 | 7:30 p.m.

Laxson Auditorium

Buy Tickets $25 Adult | $23 Senior | $15 Youth | FREE Chico State Student

Festival Pass Available:

“A moving behind-the-scenes glimpse into the develop.m.ent of a young scientist as she searches for meaning and resilience in the face of great personal and global challenges.” - Forbes

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Several years ago, ecologist Lauren E. Oakes set out from California for Alaska’s old-growth forests to hunt for a dying tree the yellow-cedar. With climate change as the culprit, the death of this species meant loss for many Alaskans. Oakes and her research team wanted to chronicle how plants and people could cope with their rapidly changing world. Amidst the standing dead, she discovered the resiliency of forgotten forests, flourishing again in the wake of destruction, and a diverse community of people who persevered to create new relationships with the emerging environment. Eloquent, insightful, and deeply heartening, In Search of the Canary Tree The Story of a Scientist, a Cypress, and a Changing World is a case for hope in a warming world.

“I came to Alaska looking for hope in a graveyard. Ice melting, seas rising, longer droughts—in a world seemingly on fire, I chose to put myself in some of the worst of it.” This is how Oakes begins her book, which was jointly selected as the Book in Common for the 2019-20 academic year by California State University, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson and Butte College President Samia Yaqub.

A conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and adjunct professor in Earth System Science at Stanford University, Oakes explores the urgent challenge of climate change by engaging the human relationship with local geography from multiple perspectives.

The Book in Common selection committee was dawn to this book for its beautiful writing, its vivid and intimate account of the process of becoming a scientist, and the compelling details of Oakes’ research among the Alaskan yellow cedar trees and the diverse communities who depend on them. As President Hutchinson observed, “Oakes’ depiction of community resilience in the face of loss will resonate well with Butte County readers.”

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