When Henri Grissino-Mayer first told me about the tough little old Douglas fir named Yoda, it struck me as the perfect bit of anthropomorphic business for a book about tree rings for kids. When Henri emailed me last month to tell me that Yoda had died over the summer, I knew I couldn’t let the milestone pass without a memorial:
An icon for scientists studying the history of New Mexico’s climate, Yoda survived many a drought. But the tree couldn’t get through the latest one, said University of Tennessee professor Henri Grissino-Mayer.
Yoda was alive in March, according to Grant Harley of the University of Mississippi, one of a posse of researchers who have been tracking the tree. But when Harley brought a group of students to the remote site in August, the tree was dead.
“Bummer,” Harley wrote in an email sharing the news. “We had a moment of silence to pay our respects.”