Over the weekend, more than a dozen volunteers gathered at Better Farm to learn the importance of trees and to plant 50 Norway Spruces in areas previously overrun by invasive burdocks.
Trees provide food and shelter for wildlife and prevent erosion. They help protect streams and lakes by stabilizing soil and using nutrients that would otherwise wash into waterways. Trees help moderate temperature and muffle noise. They even help improve air quality by absorbing some airborne compounds that could be harmful to us, and by giving off oxygen.
When young people plant tree seedlings, they can see for themselves the structure of trees, learn what trees need, and how they grow. A connection is formed. As seedlings mature the young trees can be a continuing, personalized way of relating to what they’ve learned from books to visible, living examples of what is being taught.
Better Farm's commitment to plant at least 100 trees each year helps to demonstrate the role each of us can play in protecting the environment through personal involvement in establishing a grove of trees. Ultimately, it is hoped that the experience will help our volunteers make intelligent decisions about conservation and use of natural resources. This program is made possible through a partnership with the DEC, which for the last four years has sent us an annual shipment of 50 trees for educational advancement.
The Norway spruce's dense branching pattern and tolerance of soil variations has also made it a popular tree for windbreaks. The evergreen reaches a maximum height of 60 feet, and can grow from 13 to 24 inches each year. At Better Farm, these trees will be vital to the local ecosystem. They will provide oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and provide habitat to thousands of little critters. Huge thanks to our volunteers for acting as responsible land stewards and helping to further our mission. So far this year, we've planted 68 trees. We expect to reach 100 before July.
Bonus: Please enjoy this excerpt from Dr. Seuss' apropos The Lorax:
No more trees. No more Thneeds. No more work to be done. So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one,
all waved me good-bye. They jumped into my cars
and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars.
Now all that was left 'neath the bad smelling-sky was my big empty factory...
The Lorax said nothing. Just gave me a glance... just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance...
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted himself and took leave of this place, through a hole in the smog, without leaving a trace. And all that the Lorax left here in this mess
was a small pile of rocks, with one word... "UNLESS."
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn't guess.
That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I've sat here and worried
and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
I've worried about it
with all of my heart.
"But now," says the Once-ler,
"Now that you're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.