Honoring The Giving Trees
By Debra Knapke
In her March 27th post, Teresa offered a wonderful selection of books for children. One was The Giving Tree. Shel Silverstein’s story is simple: a tree gives her all to the one she loves.
We annually celebrate trees on Arbor Day; the last Friday in April. The Arbor Day Foundation is the caretaker of this event, and it has announced a bold and wonderful initiative called Time for Trees. In four years’ time the Arbor Day Foundation intends to “Plant 100 million trees in forests and communities around the globe. Inspire 5 million tree planters to help carry the mission forward.” This timing coincides with the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day.
But we don’t always value our trees and sometimes, incautious decisions are made.
In a community where generations have loved and worked with nature there are those who do not fully understand the consequences of removing trees. Several weeks ago in Mansfield, Ohio, the Richland County Commissioners stated that the ten tuliptrees and one pin oak that have graced the front of the Richland County Administration building for decades were hazards, allowed birds to roost, and were in the way of a the installation of a new monument.
They were removed. There are plans to replace the trees. It will take years for the new trees to mature, but it is heartening to know that trees will come back to frame the municipal building.
In honor of trees, I offer this short ode:
The Giving Tree – a short list of the reasons we owe trees our love and respect
Trees shelter us; they are nature’s sunscreen.
Trees cool us: three trees correctly placed around a house can lower utility bills up to 20%.
Trees draw pollution out of the air: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter released by the burning of fossil fuels.
Tree roots, and the soil systems that surround them, purify water.
Trees provide storm water control by slowing water and diverting wind; thereby slowing erosion.
Trees store carbon; lots of carbon.
Trees – and all plants – perform photosynthesis where they combine, water, sunlight and carbon and make sugar. Without this amazing process, life would not exist as we know it.
Trees offer food to all life: while they are living, bark, branches, roots, leaves, fruit, and seeds feed bacteria, fungi, insects, birds, mammals… us. When trees fall and go back to the Earth, they nurse new communities of life.
When trees are numerous in a community, mental health is increased and crime is reduced.
The older the tree, the bigger its diameter and canopy, the more a tree gives to us and others. Young ones – just as with animals – reach maturity slowly and offer these benefits at a much lower degree.
Trees are beautiful… awe-inspiring.
May you be blessed with trees in your lives.