As the leaves begin to change from green to shades of orange, yellow and red, we celebrate the benefits these steadfast neighbors provide. October is NeighborWoods® Month, a campaign to plant and care for community trees. “Each year, tens of thousands of volunteers act to make their communities greener and healthier by planting trees – keeping their neighborhoods vibrant,” the Arbor Day Foundation reports.
Trees stand tall in our neighborhoods, protecting us from the heat, reducing crime rates, and keeping us healthy. Shaded surfaces may be 20-45 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials. The University of Washington researched the effect of trees on crime rate and found that among minor crimes, there is less graffiti, vandalism and littering in outdoor spaces with trees as part of the natural landscape that in comparable plant-less spaces. As far as human health, a study of 10 cities found community forests save an average of one life each year. In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives a year. These are only three of the many benefits that trees provide.
Our leafy neighbors, like any good neighbor, will be there to help us out, but rather than providing us with a cup of sugar, they provide use with numerous other benefits. It is up to us to return the favor. This month consider planting a tree and asking it, “won’t you be my neighbor?”
For more information contact Ellen Clark, Urban Forestry Communication Specialist, at EllenA.Clark@wisconsin.gov.