by Gerry Donnelly
Friday is Arbor Day in Illinois, a day to plant and celebrate trees. The world needs more trees, and we also need to appreciate and care for the trees already rooted in our communities. Trees need champions.
We love trees for their beauty – from long-awaited spring blooms to spectacular fall color and snow-dusted winter branches – and welcome the shade they provide on hot summer days. Yet, people often take trees for granted, overlooking all they do to improve quality of life and the environment.
Trees absorb carbon and produce oxygen, clean pollutants from the air, reduce energy cost and flooding, and provide habitat for wildlife. They add character to our communities, increase property values, reduce crime, and improve health and wellness.
There are 157 million trees in the seven-county Chicago region. When you tally the dollar value of the energy saved, pollution captured, and carbon stored by trees, it adds up to $242 million annually. And you can’t put a price on the beauty and pleasure they provide in over-scheduled, technology-driven lives.