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In Praise of Trees

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
Henry David Thoreau

As I write this, America is celebrating Arbor Day. Unlike Labor Day, Arbor Day is an unofficial or “working” holiday, so for most of us the day is upon or past us before we even realize it. So let’s take a mental walk in the woods with the following facts and quotes:

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.”
Bill Vaughn

  A healthy tree can increase your property value by as much as 27 percent.[i]

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
Martin Luther

  The shade and wind buffering provided by trees reduces annual heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.[ii]

“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”
Henry David Thoreau

According to the Earth Policy Institute, a tree in the temperate regions can take in 13 kilograms (28.7 lbs) of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its growth period.

“The groves were God’s first temples.”
William Cullen Bryant, “A Forest Hymn”

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station’s (PSW) scientists have found that for every $1 spent on planting and caring for a tree, the benefits that it provides are two to five times that investment. Benefits include cleaner air, lower energy costs, increased property values and improved water quality and storm water control.[iii]

“There are rich counsels in the trees.”
Herbert P. Horne

  A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four![iv]

“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness.”
Kahlil Gibran

  The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.[v]

“To heal mine aching moods, Give me God’s virgin woods.”
Clinton Scollard

Trees have psychological benefits. Both blood pressure and muscle tension drop when people are shown or placed in a tree environment.[vi]

“If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today.”
Stephen Girard
Who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
Lucy Larcom, “Plant a Tree”

(With many thanks to Quote Garden’s Quotations About Trees)

by Kyle Crider

Kyle Crider is Manager – Environmental Operations at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at