By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Trees are an important part of every community. They are the world’s single largest source of breathable oxygen. Trees improve air and climate quality, conserve water, preserve soil, and support wildlife.
This 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.
Through Trees for America, people are encouraged to plant trees, which benefits the environment and improves quality of life.
With nearly 1 million members and supporters, the Arbor Day Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.
Those who join 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.
“This group of trees was carefully selected to yield year-round benefits in Oklahoma, including beautiful spring flowers, cool summer shade, spectacular autumn colors, winter berries, and nesting sites for songbirds,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.
“These trees will also add to the proud heritage of Oklahoma’s 23 Tree City USA communities,” Harris continued. “For the past 39 years, Tree City USA has supported effective urban forestry management across Oklahoma, and planting these trees will enhance the state’s tree-planting tradition.”
The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between October 15 and December 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 of trees.
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.
“Trees help improve everything from personal health and quality of living, to boosting economic growth opportunities for private homes, local business and business districts,” said Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator for Oklahoma Forestry Services.
“They help solve tough environmental problems commonly found in communities. The bottom line is healthy trees translate into healthy communities.
Bays continued, “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.”
New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care.
Oklahoma’s 12,093 members helped plant more than 123,180 trees across the state last year.
The Tree City USA program, which encourages and supports effective urban and community forestry programs, is flourishing in Oklahoma. Because of the strong partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture – Forestry Division, Oklahoma is home to 20 certified Tree City USA communities.
Last year, Oklahoma Tree City USAs spent a combined total of $7,232,123 on urban forestry budgets, which benefits the over 990,000 Oklahoma residents who live in those communities.
To receive the 10 free trees, send a $10 membership contribution to Ten Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by September 30, 2015, or join online.