Picture this: You are walking down a small street in your hometown on a hot, summer day. During your stroll, you feel the sudden refreshing coolness brought from walking through the shadow of a large maple tree. You take a moment to stop and observe the full scale of this native and symbolic tree. A squirrel can be seen scurrying up the trunk of another tree - an old oak this time - a few meters from where you are currently standing. The squirrel pauses midway up the tree to look at you, and you see that he has a mouth full of acorns. You presume he is gathering up a source of food for the upcoming winter. You take in this scenery for just another moment longer, and then you continue on your way down the street. You take a deep inhale; nice and fresh. The sounds of passing motorists are slightly muffled by the tree's ability to act as a natural barrier. Further down, you stumble across some children playing with sticks that fell from a nearby tree. Their imaginations are going wild as they play and chase each other. The branch in their hand could be anything from the sword of a pirate, to the rifle of an outlaw cowboy. The children are too busy having fun to notice your presence as you walk by.
You continue on.
Further down the road, you notice that the abundance of trees is diminishing with each and every step. Instead, they are being replaced by lamp posts, buildings, and other infrastructure. Eventually, no tree can be found. The sun's rays are blaring down on you, and you being to perspire heavily to combat the sudden increase in temperature. You did not realize it was this stuffy and hot today. On your left, cars are driving by quickly. The smell of their exhaust is dizzying. Every pedestrian you meet is walking with a mission. You seem to be the only one who is stopping and taking in these surroundings. A loud crash comes from the alley to your right. You turn quickly only to find one of the neighbourhood cats climbing down from an overfilled garbage bin. You pass by a house and can see through the window children playing on an expensive gaming system.
Notice anything different?
You may have noticed that trees can have a huge impact on your day to day life. Some of their benefits are very obvious, such as their commercial value, their use as a source of fuel, use as a shelter for many species, preventing erosion, and their aesthetic value. But, as described in the example above, trees are also highly important for reasons you may never have thought about. For example, a source of shade on a hot summer day, a doorway to a child's imagination, a filter for the air we breathe, a barrier for sound and wind, the list goes on and on. Trees are such an important part of the way we live, that we would not be able to function without them. Diseases affecting huge populations of trees, such as Dutch Elm Disease, Butternut Canker Disease, Beech Bark Disease, and the Emerald Ash Borer insect are jeopardizing not only our forests, but our parks, our scenic parkways, and even your backyard.
Planting trees is one of many ways to help this situation, and TD Tree Days helps make this a reality. By collaborating with TD Tree Days, the Raisin Region Conservation Authority is working to naturalize urban areas by planting native species in developed areas, replace damaged or dying trees, and rekindle children’s and adult's passion for nature by bringing it right to their doorstep. It is with the help of TD Tree Days that these projects can happen, and the finished product is something not only our generation, but others to come, can enjoy.