Botanist, medical biochemist, and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger possesses a unique combination of western scientific training and an understanding of a wide variety of traditional and alternative sources knowledge. She works to bring a better understanding and appreciation of the scientific complexities of nature to the general public. Orphaned in Ireland in her youth, Beresford-Kroeger was educated by elders who instructed her in the Brehon knowledge of plants and nature. She went on to study classical botany and medical biochemistry and worked as a research scientist at Ottawa University and then at the Canadian Department of Agriculture Electron Microscopy Centre, where she discovered cathodoluminescence in biological materials. From 1973 to 1982, she conducted research at the University of Ottawa physiology department in conjunction with the Ottawa Heart Institute, specializing in hemodynamics.
In the early 1980s, Beresford-Kroeger embarked on a significant change in her life’s work. It began with an expansion of her private research garden and arboretum: Carrigliath. Having identified an absence in the scientific community of the ability to present science to the public and the urgent need to address the degradation of nature, she began her career in writing, broadcasting and lecturing.
Flowing from her research and experience at Carrigliath, Beresford-Kroeger published over 200 articles in magazines, journals and newspapers in Canada, the United States and internationally. She also published five critically acclaimed books on nature and gardening. Her books include The Sweetness of a Simple Life, The Global Forest, Arboretum Borealis: a Lifeline of the Planet, Arboretum America: a Philosophy of the Forest, and A Garden for Life.
Beresford-Kroeger has served as a scientific advisor to a number of organizations, including the Irish Woodland League, Ecology Ottawa, Hidden Harvest of Ottawa, Canadian Organic Growers, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, and the Acadian Forest Research Centre and others. She has lectured widely across North America and Europe and has appeared on television and radio in Canada, the U.S., Europe and international short-wave radio. For the last several decades, she has worked at Carrigliath, growing rare and endangered medicinal plants and trees.
Beresford-Kroeger was inducted as a Wings Worldquest Fellow in 2010 and named one of Utne Reader’s World Visionaries for 2011. In 2013, she was elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. In 2017, Call of the Forest: the Forgotten Wisdom of Trees—a feature film, television program and mobile app—was released.