Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Arbor Day 2010

If Spring can be late this year, then so can my post about Arbor Day.

On Friday, April 30, I was pleased to gather at Rotary Park with the mayor, members of the Beautification and Shade Tree Committee, Miss American Fork, and three fourth-grade classes from Greenwood Elementary. Our objective: to plant trees in observance of Arbor Day.

The Beautification Committee has made one of its focuses the reforestation of Rotary Park, and Arbor Day is the ideal vehicle to make this happen. An annual Arbor Day observance is one of the requirements the City must meet in order to continue its status as a Tree City USA. Reforestation is important at Rotary Park because most of its trees are the same variety and the same age. A tree-specific disease or parasite could wipe out all its trees at one time.

Budgets being tight this year, the City was grateful to accept donated trees from Tri-City Nursery and Home Depot: two London plane sycamore and one pin oak. After the mayor and Miss American Fork targeted a few well chosen remarks at their fourth-grade audience, the children were invited to help plant the trees, and American Fork became a little bit better.

Did you know that urban trees provide significant social benefits? The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain reports the following findings based on recent studies:
The symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children are relieved after contact with nature. Specifically, ADHD kids are better able to concentrate, complete tasks, and follow directions after playing in natural settings. The greener the setting, the greater the relief.
Higher self-discipline in at-risk girls can be achieved through increased exposure to nature. The higher a girl's self-discipline, the better able she is to pursue a healthy, more successful life.
Green spaces inhibit crime in urban areas. Vegetation has been shown to alleviate mental fatigue, one of the precursors to violent behavior. And because green spaces are used more, there's a sense that there are more eyes on the street, which may deter would-be criminals from committing crimes where they think they are being watched. Greenery also promotes a greater sense of community -- even in poorer, inner-city neighborhoods -- leading residents to feel safer and to behave more civilly toward one another.
For more information, visit the Web site of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

To ponder the many other economic, environmental, and psychological benefits of trees, please take a minute to read the Arbor Day Proclamation, which Mayor Hadfield signed, by following this link.


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