recess radio program

4/30/04
Arbor Day
    by Koren Stembridge

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the Earth's sweet flowing breast:
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer's famous poem, "Trees," is the perfect way to greet Arbor Day. And while only God can make a tree, each and every one of us can make the world a little greener by planting one! A quick trip to the National Arbor Day Foundation's website will tell you how. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in the State of Nebraska in April of 1872. On the designated day a proclamation was issued, urging Nebraska homesteaders to plant trees for shade, fruit, shelter, and beauty on the state's treeless plains. The Nebraskans really took to the idea, for on the first Arbor Day, more than one million trees were planted across the state. That's the history, and here are the economics. According to the NADF's website - Trees planted east and west of your home can lower home cooling costs by 15-35% - and trees planted as a windbreak lower heating bills up to 20%. Real estate agents say that trees can increase property values by 15% or more. Now, if environmental arguments compel you, consider that trees provide habitat for birds and other wildlife. They also remove air pollution by lowering air temperature through respiration, and by retaining particulates.

Children, of course, don't require these explanations to be persuaded that trees are good things to have around the house. How can something that you can climb, or swing on, or pick fruit from not be pretty great? And if there are children in your life - planting a tree every year on Arbor Day is a meaningful and educational family tradition to begin. The National Arbor Day Foundation offers 10 free trees with its $10.00 membership, and if you've been to a nursery lately, you know that's quite a deal. They will even send you literature to help you plant and maintain your new trees. Last year, more than eight million trees were planted in Arbor Day celebrations across the country. This year, make sure a few of them end up in your yard!

Copyright 2004 Koren Stembridge

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