In this age of smartphones and streaming video, it is easy to forget about the world beyond our little screens. And for the 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, the natural world can seem even more remote. But experts say it’s important to find the time to disconnect, unplug, and appreciate what nature does for you.
Surprisingly, you don’t have to travel outside your town to enjoy nature or benefit from it. “Your very own neighborhood is likely home to a wide variety of trees,” says Lisa Allen, Missouri State Forester and chair of the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) urban and community forestry committee. “From your backyard to the park, trees offer residents improved quality of life and a healthier local environment.”
But trees are at risk from a number of threats, such as invasive pests. So a healthy community forest doesn’t exist without proper planning, management and community investment. Fortunately for urban dwellers, thousands of communities nationwide understand the need for green infrastructure, and are actively working with their state forestry agency to manage these landscapes.
Beyond enjoying the trees around you, you can get involved by helping to raise awareness about the many benefits trees offer. Start a local eco-appreciation society, get involved in local street cleanups, or ask your children’s school to incorporate environmental education into the curriculum. Lastly, stay current on community forestry issues. To learn more about urban and community forestry, visit www.mytreeourforest.org.
You can also consider ordering “My Tree — Our Forest” tree tags. Each recyclable, weatherproof tag informs people on the ways that trees make oxygen, keep drinking water clean, save money, make city life fun and keep streets safe. Along with your school or community group, hang the tags on local trees (be sure to check local ordinances for permission) to remind your neighbors to take care of the environment. Then spread the word on social media using the hashtag #MyTreeOurForest.
Remember, you don’t have to leave your beaten path to enjoy the benefits of trees. Thanks to efforts happening at the local level, trees are a vital component of many densely populated communities across the country.
Thanks to State Point Media for sharing this article with us.