In a beautiful tribute to the natural heritage of the Lone Star State, photographer Ralph Yznaga celebrates the strong connections between Texans and their trees. Inspired by the old Texas Forest Service book, Famous Trees of Texas, Yznaga has captured the continuing attachment we have to these magnificent reminders of our culture and history. Stunning images, stories, a detailed map, and driving directions to thirty-seven famous (and infamous) trees help us appreciate how entwined the lives of people and trees are:
- The Treaty Oak, memorialized in Texas lore as a meeting place for Native Americans and also as the site of Stephen F. Austin’s first boundary treaty with local Indians;
- The Burnt Oak, standing witness to the dramatic events leading up to the Battle of the Alamo, one of the largest known specimens of Quercus virginiana var. fusiformis;
- The Sam Houston Kissing Oak, said to occupy the location of a Houston campaign speech near San Marcos, where the "Old Hero" kissed local young women who presented him with a flag;
- The Great Goose Island Tree, believed to be more than a thousand years old; and many others.
The photographs in Living Witness
premiered at the groundbreaking of the Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Set to open in 2012, the centennial of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth, the arboretum will feature descendents of historic trees in the Hall of Texas Heroes.
Ralph Yznaga is an advertising and public relations professional in Austin, where he has created marketing campaigns for Zales, Marshalls, Hallmark, Lennox, AT&T, World Market, Southwest Airlines, United States Olympic Committee, and others.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Trees are not something that make the news every night in Texas—or anywhere else. But perhaps they should, as they are so vitally important to our health, our culture, and our future. In Living Witness: Historic Trees of Texas,Ralph Yznaga’s labor of love stands as a fitting testimony to the majestic and essential role that trees have played, and will always play in Texas. I am not exactly a “tree-hugger”, but as a fisherman who loves nature, and as an anchorman who loves a good story, I highly recommend this book.”--Dan Rather, HDNET, and former anchor, CBS News
"People rarely associate trees with Texas. However, these (mostly oaks, which are more lasting) have indeed been witnesses to history, and even played a part in it. This book is a beautifully produced small gem and should be a part of every Texana collection."--T.R. Fehrenbach
"Yznaga's volume is a full-color tribute to some spectacular Texas trees."--Glen Dromgoole, The Eagle
"The book is beautifully illustrated with full-color photographs of each historic tree. It would be a nice reference to keep in the console of the SUV."--Donnis Baggett, editor and publisher of the Waco Tribune-Herald
"Photographer Ralph Yznaga focuses on 36 venerable Texas trees, from the giant pecan that grew from the small tree former Gov. James S. Hogg wanted planted next to his grave to Austin's ancient Treaty Oak, still struggling from a poisoning in 1989. There's at least one color image of each tree and a short history."--statesman.com