American poet Joyce Kilmer wrote, “I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,” over 100 years ago, and his words ring just as true today. Trees provide the oxygen we need to breathe, clean pollution, shelter us from sun and wind, and house wildlife. Some even provide delicious fruits and nuts to nourish us. Research is now showing that spending time with trees has a positive effect on our mental health, too. We have a lot to celebrate about trees, so here are some ways that you can show your gratitude to them on Arbor Day.
1. Write a poem about trees
Follow in the footsteps of some revered poets such as Kilmer, Robert Frost, and Mary Oliver and write about your favorite tree from your childhood or what trees mean to you today. Just look outside your window for inspiration. Your children will love this activity and you might be surprised by what they write.
2. Go for a hike
Throughout the country, state and national parks provide recreation and respite for many people. If you are able, take a walk among the trees. Listen to the wind rustle in the new leaves and breathe in the fresh air the trees provide. Look for signs of the animals that inhabit the woods and forests.
3. Learn to identify your local trees
Trees have unique leaves, bark, blossoms, and seeds. Pick up a tree guide for your area or use online resources to help you learn about the oxygen-producing giants in your area. The Arbor Day Foundation has a useful Tree Guide to help you identify specific trees. You can also download a variety of plant identification apps.
4. Pick up trash around your neighborhood
On your next walk, carry a trash bag and wear gloves. Pick up the trash, large or small, that may have blown around in the spring winds. You will make your neighborhood more pleasant for everyone and feel a sense of accomplishment when you are done.
5. Take a virtual tree tour
Organizations such as universities and the Audubon Naturalist Society is providing online tours of trees all over the country. Google Earth is even providing a free tour of cherry blossoms around the world!
6. Play games
The Arbor Day Foundation has games that you can play online with your children at ArborDay.org. You can also map the trees in your yard or neighborhood together. Give prizes for identifying the most unique trees. These games are all educational and entertaining.
7. Plant a tree
Choose a tree or shrub to add to your yard. Garden centers, hardware stores, and online vendors sell trees and shrubs of various sizes and many have experts who can help you pick the right one for you. If you cannot plant a tree this year, you can donate to efforts to plant trees in the United States and all over the world. Ensuring the health of the world’s trees benefits us all.
One hardy plant to consider for your garden is the aroniaberry or chokeberry shrub, a woody plant that grows well in most of the United States. While you are waiting for your first harvest, try Superberries Frozen Aroniaberries. They provide a burst of flavor to your smoothies, oatmeal and baked goods. They also top the antioxidant charts providing important nutrients to support your overall wellness.