the Understory

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Environmental storytelling in the spring is a wonderful season to speak to – it is hopeful and brings forth new life..  If we are telling the story of a forested area in the spring, then there are two stories that we can tell: the overstory and the understory.  It is the understory that we address in this short lesson.

The understory – I really like the word. As an environmental storyteller, I get excited when I think about it  The understory comprises plant life growing beneath the forest canopy without penetrating it to any great extent, but above the forest floor. Only a small percentage of light penetrates the canopy so understory vegetation is generally shade tolerant. The understory typically consists of trees stunted through lack of light, other small trees with low light requirements, saplings, shrubs, vines and undergrowth. It is accessible, it is right in front of us and we can make close observations of the understory.

The canopy or birds-eye view – its what makes us attempt to reach a peak so that we can get above the canopy and see the forest –  it asks us to look up and that is also a hopeful thing- keep your head to the sky – keep your eye on the sparrow – keep ytour head up.