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Celebrating Arbor Day 2023

Apr 28, 2023 | Horticulture

Celebrating Arbor Day 2023


This Arbor Day, planting a tree may be more important than ever. This summer, on a hot day, take the time to sit under the shade of a tree and consider all of the benefits trees give us. Trees give us shade and oxygen to breathe, clean our water, actively store carbon, and make us feel good. 

In urban environments, trees absorb pollutants like nitrogen oxides, small particle contaminants, carbon monoxide, and ozone. Tree roots can actually filter pollutants as they absorb water. This filtering effect also helps to prevent erosion and reduce flooding. These two factors are incredibly important as climate change causes storms in the NYC area to become more intense. We may appreciate the cool shade under a tree when out in the park, but trees actively cool their surroundings wherever they are, reducing the local air temperatures of neighborhoods and the energy consumption of buildings. 

Biophilia is the idea that humans have an innate desire to connect with nature. There is mounting evidence showing that people who live in places with more trees experience lower stress levels and greater mental health. Both property and violent crime rates go down in these environments, regardless of socioeconomic factors. Trees also help ground us in time, demonstrating seasonal changes and allowing a feeling of greater natural attunement. 

Humans are not alone in our fateful relationship with trees. Wildlife greatly depends on forests. A single tree can be home to hundreds of different insects, fungi, animals, and microorganisms. A diversity of trees only compounds the networks of creatures that the land can support. 

Humans are the architects of the forests in urban environments. We can, and should, choose to invest in these important resources for all living things. We are not exempt from the consequences of ecological collapse. Seeing to the planting of swaths of trees is not enough in the urban environment – they must then be watered and stewarded to provide the full range of benefits in our man-made cities. 

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Abigail Deville: Light of Freedom
Abigail Deville: Light of Freedom, Narrated by Brooke Kamin Rappoport