Mike Wilcox wore out more than a few shoes while researching his latest book.
He reckons he traipsed around 1000 parks from Warkworth to Pukekohe - a journey that took him the better part of four years.
But it's one he never tired of.
"I went out armed with a notebook and camera and plenty of energy and whizzed around."
The findings from those excursions form the backbone of his new book, Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest.
It's being published as part of the 75th jubilee celebrations of the Auckland Botanical Society of which he is president.
The book aims to describe the region's "urban forest" - the trees that grow in the city and suburbs.
As well as sections on every park in 19 of the 21 local board areas, the book documents the trees found on native bush reserves, schoolgrounds, cemeteries and even home gardens.
"I aimed to reveal how diverse Auckland's tree cover is and give people a better appreciation of the historical importance of the trees and the greenery of the city," Mr Wilcox says.
"We have trees from all over the world here; just in one little park alone we've got trees from China and Australia, native trees, American trees and European trees.
"I think that's to do with the climate of Auckland - it's not too hot and not too cold, not too moist and not too dry. Many different trees are able to thrive."
The book also documents the efforts of the "400 or 500" community groups working to maintain and improve Auckland's urban forests.
"They head out there in the weekends and get their hands dirty planting trees along riverbanks and revegetating degraded areas with native trees. That sort of work has got a lot of value because it helps the animal life in the water and in this area it ultimately also helps to keep the Manukau Harbour healthy."
Mr Wilcox, who has been interested in trees since the age of 5, says the hardest part about writing the book was knowing when to stop.
"There was a never-ending number of reserves. I kept finding another one I'd missed!"
Auckland's Remarkable Urban Forest will be officially launched today.
Contact Mr Wilcox via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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