plant a tree
140 years after J. Sterling Morton initiated Arbor Day in 1872, the future brings an ever-increasing need to fulfill his mission of planting trees.
So we're celebrating Arbor Day today and honoring trees–the wonder plants of the universe. How about joining us? Here are some ideas for celebrating Arbor Day from The Arbor Day Foundation. If you're not up for anything quite that ambitious, then maybe plant a tree for $1 on our Plant A Billion Trees webpage or just have a look at this beautiful 39 second video about trees and wood.
Or join the Arbor Day Foundation for $10 and get 10 free trees to plant in your yard. Have I convinced you yet? Just in case, I'll leave one final attempt. This one by a professional– poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated tomorrow on April 27. In Vermont the holiday is the first Friday in May or May 5th this year. And just so you know, our state tree in Vermont is the Sugar Maple. What is yours?
We're big tree lovers here at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Yes, we rely on them as natural resources for your furniture but also– Vermonters just have a very personal connection to the forest. Stewardship and sustainability are a part of us.
I happened to catch a great show on PBS the other night called Return to the Forest Where We Live. It focused on our country's urban forests and the vital role they play in the economic health of our cities. Would you believe that about 2400 acres/day are being converted from rural to urban land use in America? Joni Mitchell said this decades ago: when you cut down trees to put up parking lots you end up with trouble.
Now we know that among other problems, deforestation increases the temperature of these formerly rural cities by anywhere from five to ten degrees. And that hot temperature really does have a negative impact. It lowers air quality because hot trees are less healthy and unable to scrub the air of CO2 and pollutants effectively.
Loss of trees in cities also causes flooding, erosion, runoff and water pollution.
Scientist can now quantify the economic benefits of trees in urban areas. City planners are seeing the hard financial facts about the role of green spaces in reducing air pollution, erosion, summer temperatures, storm water problems and smog. They are fighting for budgets to increase urban forests and trees and showing the enormous savings associated with the planting and management of trees. In fact, six million trees provide about $64 million worth of benefits every year. Where else are you going to get a better than 10:1 return on investment?
Trees can make a big difference to the quality of lives in urban areas. They modify the microclimate of our environments, they clean our air, they reduce flooding and rainfall runoff, they protect our soil from erosion. They just contribute to the quality of our environment, and the quality of our life in many, many ways.
So anyway, I just loved this Tree show on Louisiana PBS and I'm going to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree. You can do so too. If it's not easy to plant one yourself, you can have The Nature Conservancy plant one for you. They'll do it for $1/tree as part of their Plant A Billion Trees Campaign.
Earth Day is just around the corner, on April 22. This year is a Big Milestone: the 40th anniversary of Earth Day so I thought you might want to do something special to honor Mother Nature. How about planting a tree?
As makers of wood furniture, we at Vermont Woods Studios are all about tree planting and hugging and such. I love this website, called Trees Are Good. It's run by the International Society of Arboriculture in Champaign, IL. In addition to extolling the many environmental benefits of trees (like moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and harboring wildlife) they also point out virtues like beauty, serenity and tranquility:
"We feel serene, peaceful and restful in a grove of trees. Hospital patients have been shown to recover from surgery more quickly when their room offers a view of trees."
Amazing isn't it?
Trees Are Good has lots of advice on how to plant a tree, what kind of trees to select, care for trees, pruning, feeding, mulching, pest control and much more. Check it out!
Next Thursday, a week from today I hope you'll consider planting a tree in your yard or perhaps in someone else's yard as a gift. Maybe you have someone you'd like to honor or remember with your new tree. Trees make a beautiful and enduring memorial.
Happy Earth Day.