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by Dan Ogrydziak
The main body of Trees of New England consists of 19 ink drawings of trees common to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. My motivation came from the lack of leaf images with sufficient quality to do key driven tree identification. The use of leaf keys is a means to train the eye for details relevant to distinguishing species well beyond the 19 found in this book. In general, detail found in commercial field guides is limited, and the higher-quality older etchings are difficult to find and ornate in style. It might seem that this need could be fully realized through the Internet, but for learning tree identification by key, the Internet has its own limitation.
Each of the 19 drawings is an attempt to produce a realistic image with a focus on identifiable features. All the images were produced from multiple samples with an eye to capturing an archetypal representation of the species. The aesthetic was to create a precise, unembellished series of drawings in which the beauty of nature’s designs would be manifest. A free downloadable pdf file of the trees, without identification, is available on the Levellers Press website. Pop on the image of the book cover and find the link in the description.
Dan Ogrydziak was born in Hazleton Pennsylvania, and received both a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an M.A. in Education from Lehigh University. In addition to a career as a math/science public educator, he worked as a freelance artist and illustrated two children’s books.
Since 1982 he has been an instructor with the T'ai Chi Foundation, and is a member of the senior development group. Dan is now retired and living in Northampton, Massachusetts.