What Is the Big Deal About Arbor Day?

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Happy Arbor Day!
Has anyone ever greeted you that way before? How would you respond if they did? Probably with a double-take and maybe a hesitant “Happy Arbor Day” back with a weak smile. And then would you give it another thought? I hope you would. In fact, there are a lot of reasons why you should give very careful consideration to Arbor Day, today and every year forward.
Arbor Day was established to celebrate trees. Here are a few of the reasons trees should be celebrated:

  • Trees provide oxygen
  • Trees are a line of defense against climate change
  • Trees provide windbreaks and erosion prevention
  • Trees offer shade
  • Trees, living and dead, provide habitat for many animals, insects, and other plants
  • Trees are in some places the only source of building materials
  • Trees can be a source of fuel
  • Walking in trees fights depression and improves health and brain function (scientifically proven)
  • Forest ecosystems supply an amazing diversity of potential medicinals
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Trees are beautiful!
What would we do without trees? We cannot survive without them. So what can we do to celebrate Arbor Day? What can we do to make a difference? Here are several ideas:
Plant trees. This is the traditional Arbor Day activity. You can plant trees on your own property, or you can participate in a local tree-planting event. Be sure to select trees that are native to your area. Trees will thrive in their own ecosystem, and you won’t have to water them as much.
Volunteer. If you are near an arboretum and national forest, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for you to participate in. You can also learn a lot from the experts by working with them side by side.
Go on a paper diet. We watch what we eat because we want to slim down and be as healthy as we can. Consider going on a paper diet to save trees and help forests remain as healthy as they can be. Evaluate all the paper you buy and use. Was it sustainably sourced? Can you read that book or magazine on a device instead of buying it? Make product selections with packaging in mind.
Reuse/Recycle. Paper and wood items may still have some life in them. Reuse whenever possible, and definitely recycle if a program is active in your area.
Review your writing utensils. Are your pencils sustainably sourced?
Learn something new about trees. Go to your local nursery and talk to the staff. Find out more about your native trees and how to care for them. Did you know that the largest tree is named “General Sherman,” located in Sequoia National Park? The oldest tree, a Norway Spruce named “Old Tjikko,” is 9550 years old and located in Sweden. Have you named your trees yet?
Why do trees need our help? Major deforestation in the last hundred plus years has eliminated millions of acres of forest around the world, devastating ecosystems. Add to that the fact that climate change has led to drought-weakened trees succumbing to insect infestation and disease. And not to mention the loss of forest habitat to natural disasters such as hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, and floods.
Today, if nothing else, wish someone a Happy Arbor Day and see how they react. Maybe you can get someone else thinking…

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