In recognition of Arbor Day 2019, during the months of April and May, Prime Time Early Learning Centers will donate $3 to One Tree Planted for every new child enrollment at our six child care centers in New Jersey and New York. This $3 donation will result in one new tree being planted in each of the states of Colorado, California and Florida (unfortunately One Tree Planted does not plant trees in New Jersey or New York. Let us know if you know someone who does)! Prime Time hopes to donate hundreds of dollars to planting new trees in the east, central and west coasts of the United States
Children enrolled in Prime Time Early Learning child care and Pre K programs learn about Arbor Day as part of our Growing Green nature and environmental curriculum. Arbor Day began in an area not often associated with trees or forests—the Great Plains. J. Sterling Morton (1832-1902) and his wife Caroline Joy French moved in 1854 from Michigan to the newly formed Nebraska Territory, a land devoid of trees. They encouraged tree-planting to improve the environment and beautify the landscape to attract settlers to the area, which became a state in 1867. Morton carried out his work through various literary, agricultural, and political positions, initially as editor of Nebraska City News.
On April 10 1872, Morton’s idea to set aside a day for planting and calling attention to trees became the first Arbor Day, when Nebraskans rallied to plant one million trees. The birthplace of Arbor Day was Nebraska City, where the Mortons lived in their home called Arbor Lodge. In 1885, Nebraska declared J. Sterling Morton’s birthday, April 22, as Arbor Day. Morton later served as U. S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1897.
Today, all 50 states, as well as many countries around the world, recognize Arbor Day in some manner. The day of its observance varies, depending on the best time of year to plant trees in each locale. In Illinois, Arbor Day is the last Friday of April.
Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines. Ever taken an Aspirin? It comes from the bark of a tree!
Why trees are so vital
Trees are like the vacuums of our planet. Through their leaves and bark, they suck up harmful pollutants and release clean oxygen for us to breathe. In urban environments, trees absorb pollutant gases like nitrogen oxides, ozone, and carbon monoxide, and sweep up particles like dust and smoke. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide caused by deforestation and fossil fuel combustion trap heat in the atmosphere. Healthy, strong trees act as carbon sinks; absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide and reducing the effects of climate change.
Trees play a key role in capturing rainwater and reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides. Their intricate root systems act like filters; removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the ground. This process prevents harmful waterside erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding. According to the Food and Agriculture Association of the United Nations, a mature evergreen tree can intercept more than 15,000 litres of water every year. A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitat. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.
- Young, Open Forests: These forests occur as a result of fires or logging. Shrubs, grasses, and young trees attract animals like black bears, the American goldfinch, and bluebirds in North America.
- Middle-Aged Forests: In middle-aged forests, taller trees begin to outgrow weaker trees and vegetation. An open canopy allows for the growth of ground vegetation prefered by animals like salamander, elk, and tree frogs.
- Older Forests: With large trees, a complex canopy, and a highly developed understory of vegetation, old forests provide habitat for many animals, including bats, squirrels, and a variety of birds.
From arborists, to loggers, to researchers, the job opportunities provided by the forestry industry are endless. We don’t just rely on trees for work; sustainable tree farming provides timber to build homes and shelter, and wood to burn for cooking and heating. Food-producing trees provide fruit, nuts, berries, and leaves for consumption by both humans and animals, and guarantee health and nutrition.
Did you know that hospital patients with rooms overlooking trees recover faster than those without the same view? It’s impossible to ignore that feeling of elation you feel walking through a calm, quiet forest. Trees help reduce stress, anxiety, and allow us to reconnect with nature. In addition, shade provided by tree coverage helps protect our skin from the ever-increasing harshness of the sun.
Trees help cool the planet by sucking in and storing harmful greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, into their trunks, branches, and leaves, and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. In cities, trees can reduce overall temperature by up to eight degrees Celsius. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities—a number expected to increase to 66% by the year 2050—pollution and overheating are becoming a real threat. Fortunately, trees can absorb up to 150 kg of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live.
If you care about trees, and all the benefits that trees provide to people and our planet, please let your friends and families with young children know about Prime Time’s Arbor Day promotion, and invite them to visit their local Prime Time Early Learning Center in Middletown and Farmingdale NY, and in Paramus, Edgewater, Hoboken and East Rutherford NJ. This Arbor Day child care registration promotion also applies to new registrations for our fantastic 2019 summer camp programs.
This article is part of a young child health and wellness series posted for the benefit of parents by Prime Time Early Learning Centers. Prime Time is a family owned child care company that provides Infant Care, After Care, PreK, Prekindergarten, and Summer Camp programs for children from six weeks to 10 years of age in Paramus, Edgewater, Hoboken and East Rutherford New Jersey, and in Middletown (Wallkill) and Farmingdale (Babylon) New York. See what parents have to say about their experience with Prime Time Early Learning Centers on Google and Yelp!