Jahren’s father is the source of her first experiences in science: she spent nearly every evening of her childhood in her father’s science lab, at the local community college where he worked. He let her play with all of the supplies and instruments in the lab, and she helped him set up for the next day’s class. Afterwards, they would lock up the building, walking down the empty hallways in a way that made young Jahren feel like she owned the place. They would then walk home in silence—Jahren notes that being silent was what her family did best. Her father had grown up in the small town in southern Minnesota, and had taught science to students who would eventually become the teacher’s in Jahren’s school. After she leaves home to attend the University of Minnesota, Jahren does not mention her father again, except for a vague reference to a phone call about the death of her favorite tree; she also mentions that no one attended her graduation when she received her doctorate. While he was an inspiration for Jahren as a young girl, her father does not seem to have played a big part of her life as an adult.