Professor of Biology David Haskell has won the 2018 John Burroughs Medal for distinguished natural history writing for his book, The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors.
“In rich, often stunningly beautiful prose, Haskell uses his astounding powers of observation and reveals how trees, through their webs of fungi and communities of bacteria, the actions of animals and other plants, and their human intersections, are the center of a biological network that underpins all life, including our own,” said the John Burroughs Association. “The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Connectors pushes the genre of nature writing in a welcome new direction.”
Since 1926, books awarded the Burroughs Medal have represented exceptional nature writing that combines accurate scientific information, firsthand fieldwork, and creative natural history writing. Past winners have included Rachel Carson, Peter Matthiessen, and Aldo Leopold. “This book grew from Sewanee’s soil,” Haskell said. “The university has a longstanding tradition of excellence in environmental studies and literature. It’s an honor that The Songs of Trees can show a small part of this rich and vital work to the wider world.”
The medal will be presented at the Nature Literary Awards Luncheon on April 2 at the Yale Club of New York City.