A few years back the Arbor Day Foundation used to hold a teen stewardship camp for 13-15 year olds at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City. The camp was a way of bringing teens together and sparking an interest in environmental stewardship.
One year we took tree inventory for Nebraska City. The kids loved it and it was a great way for them to be hands-on. In taking inventory of trees it’s important to know which trees are which. So to help identify silver maple trees, the kids came up with a song to the rhythm of Silver Bells that still rings in my head today. The song described how to identify a silver maple, and simplified the uncertainty that followed when a tree’s identity was in question.
The silver luster that shines off the bark and undersides of its leaves makes me think of those hours with the campers and the fun we had, making it my favorite tree.
Did you know that next month marks National NeighborWoods Month? That’s right, kicking off on the first of October is an annual month-long campaign to plant and care for community trees. What makes this campaign even more exciting is the network of communities across the country that participate in the celebration.
NeighborWoods month is organized by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) network of local nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Every October tens of thousands of volunteers join together with the shared cause of planting and caring for community trees.
This year marks the 11th year of celebrating NeighborWoods month! Together, Alliance for Community Trees organizations have planted and cared for more than 15 million trees with help from more than 5 million volunteers. It’s incredible what we can accomplish when we work together toward a common goal.
Although everyday should be a celebration of green communities, committing a whole month to the cause raises the discussion and action in local communities by emphasizing that tree canopy protection is a national concern, not just local. There are numerous benefits to participating in NeighborWoods month.
It adds validity and weight to collective efforts, provides an opportunity to both use and acknowledge volunteers, inspires businesses and local government support and can enhance a community’s appearance and reputation. Not to mention the economic, environmental and health benefits communities reap when they have a healthy community forest.
Visit NeighborWoodsMonth.org to learn more about local NeighborWoods events in your community.