All of us have trees in our lives, and yet trees are overlooked and undervalued because they are silent, they don’t move, they don’t ask anything of us — they’re just there.

All of us have trees in our lives, and yet trees are overlooked and undervalued because they are silent ...

——Nalini Nadkarni, Scientific Advisor


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.

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.

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.

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.

Ross shooting in Quinalt Interviewing Jane Goodall - March, 2014 Ross attaching Go Pro camera before Nalini climbs David Minckler shooting Anna shooting in San Francisco Pennsylvania Horticultural Society workshop group Anna setting up at Chicago tree planting Team at Chicago tree planting

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

National Science Foundation MacArthur Foundation

And additional contributions by

National Partners

Alliance for Community Trees National Environmental Education Foundation U.S. Forestry Service