By Darla Sheldon
City Sentinel Reporter
The importance of trees cannot be overstated. They are the world’s single largest source of breathable oxygen. Trees contribute to the environment by improving air quality, climate improvement, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife.
During September, everyone from Oklahoma who joins the Arbor Day Foundation will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation’s Trees for America program. Memberships start at $10.
With one million members, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. Each year the Foundation distributes millions of trees, fosters tree-care education, and works to help reforest thousands of fire-ravaged acres in our National Forests.
Everyone joining this month will receive an eastern redbud, white pine, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, pin oak, red maple, river birch, silver maple, northern red oak and Colorado blue spruce.
John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation said, “This group of trees was carefully selected to yield year-round benefits in Oklahoma, including beautiful spring flowers, cool summer shade, spectacular autumn colors and winter berries and nesting sites for songbirds.”
The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between Oct. 15 and Dec. 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Easy-to-follow planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment.
New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.
Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator for Oklahoma Forestry Services said, “Trees help improve everything from personal health and quality of living, to boosting economic growth opportunities for private homes, local business and business districts. They help solve tough environmental problems commonly found in communities. The bottom line is healthy trees translate into healthy communities.”
With nearly 80 percent of all Americans living in densely populated areas, trees can benefit public health and economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
“It is important to remember that we need to continue to replace those trees that we’ve lost due to the heat, drought and fires, because of all the values and benefits that they provide for us,” said Bays.
Last year, Oklahoma Tree City USA spent a combined total of $8,986,838. Their urban forestry budgets benefited more than 1.6 million Oklahoma residents.
Rosenow added, “These trees will also add to the proud heritage of Oklahoma’s 23 Tree City USA communities. For the last 36 years, Tree City USA has supported effective urban forest management across Oklahoma, and planting these trees will enhance the state’s tree-planting tradition.”
Oklahoma’s urban and community foresters, city officials and citizens who strive to plant and care for trees in their communities that help increase energy savings, clean the air and water, and beautify the state.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization whose mission is to inspire people to plant, celebrate and nurture trees. Members and supporters have helped plant more than 30 million new trees in America’s forest devastated by insects and fires.
Tree planting has long been a part of American culture. We have all heard of Johnny Appleseed. Past practices are still bearing fruit. The Endicott Pear Tree, planted by John Endicott in approximately 1630 in Danvers, Mass. is still producing fruit after 383 years.
Stephen Messenger, natural science writer for TreeHugger said, “There are few surviving remnants of those earliest days in American history, when European settlers arrived to the wild lands of the New World. But as their centuries-old headstones have weathered and crumbled with time, it’s reassuring to know that a living monument has been fruitful through it all.”
Oklahoma’s 13,741 Arbor Day Foundation members helped plant more than 135,152 trees across the state in 2012.
To receive the 10 free trees, send a $10 membership contribution to Ten Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, N.E. 68410, by Sept. 30, or join online at arborday.org/september
Join Arbor Day Foundation in September to receive 10 free trees
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