This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.
In this three-part lecture series, we’ll explore the contemporary science and mysteries of how trees communicate with each other, as well as how to decipher what they might be communicating to us.
Trees can’t speak, but they constantly communicate. In this three-part lecture series with Annie Novak, we’ll explore what tree communication actually means, rooting our understanding of this extraordinary natural phenomenon in plant evolution, biology, and chemistry. We’ll learn about the fundamentals of fungal networks, the power of hormones, and how science is really just catching up with a conversation millions of years in the making. By the end of our time together, you’ll not only have an understanding of the mechanisms of tree communication, but also of how to listen.
This course is open to wayfarers and landscape-readers of all levels; no prior experience is required. Recommended companion class: Beyond Tree Identification: Learning the Secrets of Trees With Annie Novak.
Syllabus at a Glance
This course includes three total sessions, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three Thursdays beginning July 20, skipping July 27.
Session 1 (Thursday, 7/20, 6:30–8 PM ET): Trees in the Landscape: Evolution and ecology
A crash-course in tree-focused botany to build a foundational understanding of plant evolution and biology. An introduction to plant parts and processes involved in tree communication (e.g. xylem, phloem, plant hormones, photosynthesis).
Session 2 ( Thursday, 8/3, 6:30–8 PM ET): Botany and Chemistry: How trees “talk”
Decentering human-oriented concepts of communication and relationships to better understand the time frame, methods and mechanisms of inter-tree and inter-species communication. We’ll touch on the scientific debate around understandings of plant sentience.
Session 3 (Thursday, 8/10, 6:30–8 PM ET): Tree Communication: How to be a better listener
Stepping back from the microscopic to look at trees in the landscape and ecosystem context. We’ll explore how to use our senses to better understand trees, focusing on how building understandings of tree communication can inform our own stewardship and participation in an ecosystem.
This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.
Community Guidelines for Students
Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.
Atlas Obscura Online Courses
Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit www.atlasobscura.com/online-courses. For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.
Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.
Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.
Annie Novak is the founder and director of Growing Chefs, field-to-fork food education program; the Manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and co-founder and farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in partnership with Goode Green and Broadway Stages. She is the author of The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm, published by Ten Speed Press.
This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.
Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.
We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.