We owe it all to J. Sterling Morton, who, upon moving to Nebraska way back in 1885, so missed the lush greenness of the east that he started planting trees on the site of his new home. Fellow settlers followed suit, and we’ve continued to carry on their planet-protecting ways by celebrating Arbor Day each year ever since. This time around, it falls on April 29th, as always on the heels of Earth Day.
While requiring so little, trees benefit us in so many ways by . . .
· Helping control air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and “exhaling” oxygen via photosynthesis.
· Absorbing enough carbon dioxide over the length of a year to counteract the amount produced by driving a car 26,000 miles.
· Cooling the air by releasing water vapor through their leaves, called transpiration.
· Offsetting the radiant heat caused by city pavement, streets, and buildings.
· Collecting dust and harmful, manmade particles in the air.
· Saving up to 25% in household energy costs when strategically placed.
· Lessening storm-water runoff by storing rain in their leaves and branches.
· Reducing soil erosion.
And that’s just for starters . . . Meanwhile, as Warren Buffet reminds us: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
Now you can be that someone doing the tree planting in celebration of Arbor Day, even as you and your family learn more about trees right here in Montgomery County:
· 23rd Annual Cheltenham Township Arbor Day Tree Planting on April 29th, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at High School Park, High School Road & Montgomery Avenue in Cheltenham, for a tree planting event and the granting of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA and Growth Awards. For more information, call 215-782-8082 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
· Arbor Day Give-A-Way on April 30th, from 9:00 a.m. on, at the Montgomery County Building Gazebo Park, 1001 Stump Road in Montgomeryville, for free tree giveaways–one tree per household–education sessions, and more. For more information: call 215-393-6920 or write to email@example.com.
· Arbor Day Treasure Hunt on April 30th, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.at the Morris Arboretum, 100 East Northwestern Avenue in Philadelphia, for interactive activities, 4 Tree Activity Stations, a book reading by author Suzanne Ridolfi, a seedling to take home, and more. For more information, call 215-247-5777 or visit www.morrisarboretum.org.
· Whitpain Township’s Annual Arbor Day Beautification Program on May 1st, at 9:30 a.m. at the Township Building, 960 Wentz Road in Blue Bell. The township’s Shade Tree Commission will be giving away up to 3 bare-root and potted trees per household, on a first-come, first-served basis, as they celebrate the township’s receiving the Tree City USA and Growth Awards yet again, plus being named, in 2009, an Arbor Day Foundation’s Sterling Community. For more information, call 610-244-2400 or write to Ishoppe@whitpaintownship.org.
Then, as you go about planting a tree or two and sprucing up the yard, how about also heading to your local library or bookstore and providing your child with a book or two on the subject? Among the most oft-recommended:
1. Arbor Day, by Kelly Bennett
2. Be a Friend to Trees, by Patricia Lauber
3. Earth Book for Kids, by Linda Schwartz
4. Nature’s Green Umbrella, by Gail Gibbons
5. Tell Me, Tree: All about Trees for Kids, by Gail Gibbons
6. The Gift of a Tree, by Alvin Tresselt
7. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
8. The Life Cycle of a Tree, by Bobbie Kalman
9. Trees, Leaves, and Bark, by Diane Burns
10. What Tree Is That? A Guide to the Common Trees . . ., by the Arbor Day Foundation
Don’t forget, too, to support the National Arbor Day Foundation. The organization provides non-stop information about trees, planting, and just about everything in between. Help them out with a contribution and benefit from all they have to offer.
Then get out there and enjoy the great out-of-doors, planting, pruning, and playing, too.