It's National Arbor Day, a special day set aside for tree planting! Today's a great day to recognize and discuss the important role trees play in our natural world. Here are 10 ways you can honor this 135-year-old observance as a family, or an individual. (It's OK to spread these activities out over several days or weeks, using today as your starting point.)
1. The most obvious Arbor Day act is to plant a tree (or make a plan to plant one sometime soon). Be sure to choose the right tree for the right spot, and learn how to properly plant and care for it!
2. Go on a neighborhood tree walk. Stroll around your neighborhood, or a nearby park, and observe all the different types of trees. Bring along a field guide to identify what you see, or alternatively, take photos and use the Internet to identify your neighborhood trees when you get home (visit www.arborday.org/trees/treeid.html).
3. Stop by the library and pickup a few books about trees. Consider picture books for little ones, such as The Giving Tree or A Tree is Nice. Older children will appreciated non-fiction/resource books to learn more about trees; local tree identification guides; and even the classic coming-of-age story A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Adults, check out The Tree, a nonfiction look at how the natural world affects human lives.
4. Make bark rubbings using paper and crayons or colored pencils. Lay your paper over the bark of different trees and rub it with a crayon... watch the patterns and texture of the bark magically appear!
5. Make a list of all the different foods that come from trees (think beyond just apples and oranges to other edible tree products such as cinnamon [tree bark] and syrup [tree sap]). Pick a favorite from the list and make a tree-grown snack to enjoy and share in gratitude.
6. Find a spot to relax under a shady tree. Lie down and look up through the branches and leaves. Lean against the trunk and read a book. Pack a picnic to eat in the shade...
7. Write a poem about a tree in honor of Arbor Day and National Poetry Month. Pick a tree in your yard to write about... or conjure up an image of the most beautiful - or unusual- tree you can imagine. Be creative! Read some of these famous poems for inspiration.
8. Observe what animals, insects, and birds live in and around the trees in your area. Think about what role the trees play for the wildlife (shelter, food, rest). Consider starting a nature journal in which to record your observations.
9. Volunteer time or donate money to a local tree-planting organization and help grow trees and community! Visit www.arbordaynow.org to find out where and how you can make a difference in your area.
10. If nothing else, go outside and hug a tree today. It's a sweet and simple way to express your gratitude for all the benefits trees offer to you and your planet. Plus, it feels great!
***How do you celebrate Arbor Day?***
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