woaThere’s a lot going on with our Green Pathways initiative: solar bids, new website pages being developed, lighting upgrades and audits, new drought-tolerant landscaping going in on April 2, but today I want to talk about TREES! Yes, trees again.
As we get ready to launch our initiative in celebration of earth day’s 51st anniversary, I’ve been showing sneak previews of our tree sponsorship program to anyone who will look. And the response is always, “I love it. When is ready, I want to sponsor some trees!”
Trees just speak to people in a deep and meaningful way. But why?
Our homes are filled with furniture made from trees; we’re even buried in tree boxes. Our lungs fill with the oxygen that trees breathe out (just one tree provides four people with one days’ oxygen, they say). Trees provide shade and natural cooling systems from the hot sun. They clean water as it seeps through their root systems* and did you know that their “tree sweat” increases moisture in clouds that then travel and bring more rain? Trees, yep, trees. They do all that and more. They speak to us, and we seek them out to sit under, picnic under, look up through, breathe in, and feel a connection to our very essence. After all, Buddha gained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.
Forests of trees appear in mythology, in song, poetry, art, in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. In our religious traditions, they pack a power-load of symbols: life, death, resurrection, wisdom, and redemption. Two trees in the Garden of Eden are potent representations of life itself and of the knowledge of Good and Evil. Trees’ roots tap deep into our collective consciousness and their branches point towards the heavens and our spiritual quests, representing the axis mundi, or the point between heaven and earth (sometimes named the “World Tree”). I think we feel all this and more when sitting among trees, no knowledge of Latin needed.
What is a Tree City?
We recently had to take down some trees, many were dead, but a few were blocking hole #1. I’m happy to report that La Canada Flintridge is a Tree City. What’s that? “The Tree City USA program is part of the Arbor Day Foundation and has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA.“
As a Tree City, LCF mandates that we replace any trees we take down and that we protect certain trees, Oaks, Deodars (within a certain district), and Sycamores. We worked closely with Harriet Harris, a City of LCF assistant planner, who came to the club to measure, see the trees, and begin the permitting process. Nothing could please us more than protecting trees, replacing trees, and looking out for trees as a community asset.
Today I spoke with Genevieve, who works at Theodore Payne Nursery and foundation in Sunland (who specializes in California native plants). She was excited about our tree planting and we’ll be making sure we plant many native carbon-sequestering trees and shrubs, which will also provide habitat and “green corridors” for our fine feathered friends. Just ordered, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, by Douglas W. Tallamy (Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware). His message is plant, plant, plant natives in your gardens and yards and watch as insects, birds, small animals, and biodiversity flourish again.
Okay, gotta run to look at landscape rocks!
Resources and Source Information
Places to Plant Trees
A personal Favorite, the Green Belt Movement in Kenya: The Green Belt Movement
Learn Why Indigenous Peoples are the Best Stewards of Forests and how to Support Indigenous Peoples and the Lands they Protect.