National Love a Tree Day arrives on May 16th each year, a day to show our gratitude for these amazing plants. For around 370 million years, trees have given us gift after gift. From food, to fire, to shelter, to the very air we breath, there may be no form of life that has provided more support to our species. So take a moment to reflect on the awesomeness of trees today. Here are some ways to appreciate these majestic wonders of the natural world.
1. Take a Hike in the Woods
What better way to enjoy trees than to get out and walk among them? Make a plan to meet a friend, take the kids, or get a whole group out enjoying the fresh air together. Or just enjoy a solitary stroll. Dig into the depths of your memory's root system. Think about the trees that taught you. The trees you played with, or ate fruit from. The trees that showered you with leaves or held your tire swing. The trees that gave you joy just to watch.
2. Identify New Species
You can probably identify some classic trees you’ve grown up with, but out in the forest, there may be new leafy friends to meet. Download a plant identification app before you head out, or grab a book on local flora and fauna. Learn the names of species you never knew. Read about where they came from, or what they’ve been used for in the past.
3. Make Art
While you’re out and about, take photos of trees. Consider them from different angles. Notice the way the branches divide, the shape of their leaves, the color of the bloom, and the thickness of the bark. Turn your pictures into year-long reminders by printing and framing them. If you're into mixed media, gather some leaves or twigs to incorporate into creative projects that honor the guardians of the forest.
When you return from your walk, look up the varietals you saw. What's their maximum size or age? When do they bloom and how do they spread seeds? Are they native to your area? If not, where did they come from?
5. Share Information
The best way to retain your new knowledge is to teach it to others. Once you’ve done your research, share it. Chat about it. Post about it. Offer to speak at your child’s class if you're a parent, or just gather around a campfire for some good old-fashioned storytelling about the trees in the forest, your orchard, or the park.
6. Plant a Tree
The best way to show your love of trees is to plant one. Add a fruit tree to the garden or a shade tree to the back yard. If you don’t have space, offer to volunteer with the Scouts or other organizations who coordinate tree planting events in your area. If you’re not able to plant a tree yourself, donate to a tree planting organization.
The world has around three trillion trees. It needs over a trillion more to stop global warming. If every human planted 150 trees, we could meet that goal. So let's get digging!
7. Care for Your Plants
Another immediate way to share your appreciation is to improve the care you give the flora already around you. Make sure your plant friends get the optimal amount of water and nutrients by creating a gardening schedule. Grab a notebook or set up a digital calendar that reminds you when to give your trees a deep, to-the-roots watering, a dose of fertilizer, and a layer of mulch.
8. Prune a Tree
If you have a late-summer blooming tree, spring is the ideal time to take care of pruning needs. Trees that bloom earlier will appreciate a trim after their flowers fade. Whenever you do it, your tree will thank you for the boost to its health and beauty.
9. Hug a Tree
Everybody appreciates a hug, and our fellow living organisms are no exception. So wrap your arms around a big barky beauty. Sure, the neighbors might look at you, but that seems like a perfect chance to spread the good news about National Love a Tree Day. Strike up a chat and find out what trees have meant to other people. Let the trees give you one more gift—a new connection to the world around you.