Gary Saunders

Originally trained as a forester, Gary L. Saunders went on to study fine arts at Mount Allison University and the Ontario College of Art before taking a position with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests extension program. Here, he honed his skills as an editor and writer. Saunders has been a frequent contributor to periodicals such as Atlantic Advocate, Rural Delivery, Atlantic Forestry Review and Saltscapes and is the author of numerous books, ranging from guidebooks (Trees of Nova Scotia and At a Glance: A Guide to Identifying and Managing Nova Scotia Hardwoods) to essays (Alder Music and September Christmas) to illustrated children’s books (The Brook and the Woodcutter). He lives in Clifton, Nova Scotia.

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My Life with Trees
Gary Saunders

2015 / Autobiography / $28.95
9781554471515 / Trade paper / 256 pp

Born in northeast Newfoundland to a family with deep roots in forestry, trapping, and guiding, Gary Saunders’ love of the natural world developed early and stayed with him throughout his life. Originally trained as a boots-on-the-ground forester, Saunders’ passion for painting and writing led him to also study the fine arts and to take a job writing and editing for the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests, producing newsletters and educational material for the general public. Later, as a freelance writer, his illustrated articles about trees and rural living would become a regular feature for over three decades in several regional magazines.

At heart, this book is an unconventional memoir. While organized by tree species like a reference book, Saunders’ essays actually impart equal parts natural and personal history. And like the best sylvan essayists of earlier generations (Thoreau, Leopold), Saunders draws greater truths about our relationship with nature—and with each other—out of what on first glance might appear to be recitals of botanical facts or yarns about adventures past. A close reading of this book promises not only to expand one’s understanding of the ecology of the forest, but also to offer a rich, evocative model for how we might better live our lives with trees.

Winner of the 2016 Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award.

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