The Truth About Trees is a documentary film series and community story project that aims to raise awareness of the indispensable role of trees for all life on Earth. The stories and films are being produced in collaboration with people all over America. As we make the films and record personal stories, three big themes emerge:
Trees are essential for life on Earth. They provide clean water, shelter, and food for millions of plant and animal species, including humans. In urban areas, where more than half of us now live, trees are associated with better health and lower crime rates. And trees capture and store carbon and help us prepare for changes ahead.
Trees are in trouble. Higher temperatures, extreme weather, and changing rainfall patterns are affecting trees worldwide. On their own, forests can’t adapt or move fast enough to keep pace. Now, when we need them most, trees also need us.
There’s hope. Scientists probe unanswered questions about tree biology and forest ecology. Arborists and foresters tackle fast-changing challenges. Everywhere, citizens work with love and devotion to help forests survive and thrive. We hope you're inspired to get involved, too—so, together, we can prepare for and manage the changes ahead.
Here's how we're working.
Filmmaker Ross Spears and his crew have been traveling throughout the United States to meet with and interview forest ecologists, botanists, arborists, woodworkers, firefighters, and tree-lovers of all kinds. They have gathered more than 400 hours of footage, ranging from northern California's redwood forests to Florida's mangrove swamps. Ross talks about his vision for the film series.
NOTE: We have NO connection with the Hardwood Forest Foundation.
Produced with Support from
And additional contributions by
Ross Spears, producer and director, is an independent filmmaker from Johnson City, Tennessee. His earlier series APPALACHIA: A History of Mountains and People also explored the intertwined histories of the natural and human worlds. Ross says, "History is no longer simply a story of human doings. Natural history and human history are part of the same story."
Nalini Nadkarni, chief scientific advisor, pioneered the study of Costa Rican rain forest canopies. Now director of the Center for Science and Math Education at the University of Utah, she has been honored widely for her contributions to public engagement with science. She is author of Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees.
Anna Hiatt, photographer, videographer, and digital story editor, is a New York-based journalist who is also producer of a start-up longform publishing venture called the Big Roundtable.