by Carol Nix |
We depend on them for the very air we breathe, a source of the materials that make our lives possible. There is no place, city or countryside, that isn’t made healthier and more enjoyable by trees.
The Sierra Club is joining several other local groups to ask Morgantown City Council to proclaim 2013 The Year of the Tree (YOTT).
Some benefits of trees are obvious: shade for our playgrounds and trails, habitat for wildlife, windbreaks, landscaping, glare and reflection reduction, erosion control, and a source of medicine. Other services, while not so obvious, are equally important. Studies have shown that trees can reduce stress, and that views of trees can speed the recovery of surgical patients. All other things being equal, school campuses that have trees have higher graduation rates than those without them! Greener urban areas encourage healthy social interaction, and have even been proven to reduce crime.
The goals of this initiative (YOTT) are to bring public attention to local tree treasures, to spread facts and have fun doing it, to get people to look up (!) and encourage tree appreciation through creative, fun activities, to educate about the role of trees in the community (environmental, historical, etc.) and to cultivate community awareness, enthusiasm, and an attitude of gratitude about the place we live.
We expect that City Council will adopt the proclamation when it is presented, so look for lots of local activities happening this year, for example, nominating large or significant trees in each neighborhood, workshops devoted to tree care, art installations honoring these ancient beings, stories connecting our trees to our history, tree plantings and maybe some surprises to recognize these venerable witnesses in our community.