Earth Day is every day, so plant a tree this year


Shade Tree

Many of our city neighborhoods have diseased, dangerous, and dying trees, or trees that need to be pruned by a professional. Diseased or dying trees need to be removed, since they pose a danger to passersby, vehicles, utilities, and our homes. And for every tree removed another new one should be planted.

Do you know that just one mature shade/street tree can provide life sustaining oxygen for five humans, not to mention that if planted in front of one’s home on the curb lawn or in a yard these trees’ foliage helps to reduce home cooling costs, provides nesting for songbirds and bees . . . and will, as a big plus, create serenity. Yes, we do need bees to pollinate our food supply. Recent environmentalist studies are noting a serious decline of bees and healthy hives. We are not to destroy hives, but rather to call a beekeeper to remove them, if necessary.

Fact: A serene street tree-lined neighborhood is generally a low crime neighborhood. Check out the studies for yourself. Contact Penn State Agriculture Extension Director Vinnie Cottrone for species/placement/care plans and for confirmation of the low crime rates where trees line the streets. Remember that neighborhood shade trees add value to real estate and provide free year-round beauty!

Our stress levels and crime rates rise during periods of extreme heat. Shade trees can even address and reduce such problems, since no one desires to deal with excessive sun and related heat indices. Trees can address many problems. Shade trees in our city parks also encourage our children and families to spend more time outdoors. Mid-summer last year I witnessed mostly empty parks around our city and that shouldn’t be. Why the empty parks? Could it be because there wasn’t any shade? I am thinking, yes.

Our children need to be outdoors exercising, socializing, playing games and sports, as opposed to becoming coddled couch potato-eating machines. The A/C, the television or video games, and soaring electric bills shouldn’t be what our short summer is all about.

Shade trees encourage outdoor activities and provide a cool spot for both humans and animals to escape relentless heat and damaging UV rays from the sun. Trees in this respect can reduce skin cancer and other immune issues or damage to one’s vision.

A park that is deserted and devoid of shade won’t encourage outdoor activities. Is there anything more comforting and humorous than watching children playing and laughing in a shady park or in a shady yard during the summer months? So, clearly, trees can affect us in a positive manner.

Trees can also reduce flooding because they absorb runoff water at a tremendous rate. If you have a mushy, empty curb lawn or a soft spot in your yard, simply plant a tree to resolve that issue.

Planting one tree for posterity can make a big difference in our parks and neighborhoods for decades to come, and all they need is water and protection from vandals. We need to teach our children not to damage trees and the reasons why trees are important to every living creature. Teach your children how to plant trees and water them.

Ask yourself this: Would you like to reside on a shady, tree-lined serene street, or on a choking, poor-air-quality hot street? Take a look at some sections of Wilkes-Barre City where trees line the streets, or in other Wyoming Valley neighborhoods like Forty Fort and Kingston—serenity! (And an accompanying low crime rate.)

The proper species of trees can make a big difference wherever they are placed. The Arbor Day Foundation offers free online information on how to plant the right tree, or you can ask a nursery specialist to guide you.

Though Earth Day has passed for this year, Earth Day is every day. Plan to plant one tree during your lifetime for posterity or in memory of a loved one. The next generation will thank you.

Since our city park and neighborhood healthy shade trees are our only oxygen supplier, air cleaner, home for songbirds and much needed bees in addition to being free natural cooling helpers, why not plant one or two this spring or summer in the correct spot where needed? All that’s required to plant a tree is a little muscle and adequate watering routines for their first year and during dry spells. As a tree matures, well, you’ll respect their free benefits.

As stewards of our earth we need to give back to nature and teach our children why it is necessary to plant and care for trees as well as to care for all living things. We are not the last generation.

“We have been given the perfect gift and we shouldn’t take it for granted that we don’t have to give back. Earth and all living creatures deserve our concern and respect.”

The Wilkes-Barre Taxpayers Association will be donating an evergreen or shade tree this summer for every park in our city.

  • Linda Urban
  • Member, Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association Board of Directors

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