National Arbor Day: 5 Reasons to Love Trees

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National Arbor Day is April 27, inviting us to celebrate trees─true wonders of nature─and to “green” our future by planting more of them. When Julius Sterling Morton declared the first Arbor Day in 1872, he was ahead of his time in understanding the value of trees. But even Julius might have been surprised by all we’ve learned since about the many ways trees benefit our lives. For example:

Trees clean our air

Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide─one of the major contributors to global warming─and breathe out oxygen, improving the quality of our precious air. Mature trees can absorb roughly 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. According to ColoradoTree.org, about 800 million tons of carbon are stored in the trees that comprise the urban forests of the United States.

Trees reduce energy costs

If you have trees shading your home, you’ll enjoy cooler, more comfortable summers. The Arbor Day Foundation notes that the overall effect of the shade created by just one healthy tree is equivalent to multiple air conditioners running daily. In the winter, trees can act as windbreaks for your home, minimizing heating costs by up to 25%, according to the Journal of Horticulture. That’s easy on the planet and your wallet!

Trees improve urban areas

One study found that in New York City, a 10% increase in trees translated to a reduction of ozone levels by around 4 parts per billion. Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution, which is especially important for people who live near freeways. According to the New Jersey Forest Service, trees can reduce noise pollution by up to 10 decibels. And because trees shade asphalt, they reduce the urban “Heat Island” effect.

Trees make us feel good

Just being around trees is uplifting. Can you imagine living without them? The addition of trees to communities does more than increase property values. They also improve the mental and physical health of residents and workers. For example, research from the University of Cambridge reveals that employees with a view of trees from their offices suffer from fewer diseases than workers who don’t see trees.

Trees are healthy for kids

Many children enjoy being in nature. Trees can even help children with learning disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One study entitled “Coping with ADHD: The Surprising Connection to Green Play Settings, Environment, and Behavior” found that kids with ADHD are more calm, responsive, and better able to concentrate when they’re among trees, plants and flowers.

And these are only a few of the benefits our majestic trees provide! To learn more about celebrating Arbor Day, educating kids about trees, or having them planted in celebration or memory for loved ones, visit http://www.arborday.org

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