Arbor is defined as ‘tree’ in Latin. With that interpretation, I’d like to first introduce myself as an Arborist. An Arborist is a practitioner, consultant and conduit of proper tree care.
This being my initial article for the magazine, I’ve been digging around, looking for the relationship between your health and the impact trees have on it. Surprisingly, there isn’t much published on the topic. I’m slightly floored by this because of the integrated history of mankind and trees. But it looks like there is more interest being generated on this subject and I’m certain we will see more research in the days to come.
For a few examples of how you are interconnected on daily basis with trees; the wooden frame that forms your home, the maple leaf on our flag, and possibly, why you landscaped your lot before you finished the basement. Now, think about your yard, front and back, and realize that you now probably have surviving versions of these abstracts if you watered them enough. Consciously or unconsciously we have strong interpersonal connections to trees. Our ties run deep and they affect each of us on alternate levels.
Now, if you can, fast forward to the summer months and the mass exodus from the city to the camp grounds during the weekend. Why do we find ourselves going through the hassles, expenses and burning up our precious time to connect with the wilderness? We crave nature’s diversity. Tired of the organized chaos of the city, the unrelenting background noise. We opt to sooth ourselves to the trembling leaves of the aspen or the sway of the evergreens in the breeze.
Maybe you have heard mentioned with increasing frequency the word ‘greenspace’. This term refers to parks, boulevard trees, backyards, botanical gardens, fields or even a window with a view of the mentioned. Greenspaces can significantly reduce anxiety and depression. They can also alleviate the slew of health problems that are byproducts of anxiety and stress. One study said that children under the age of twelve receive the biggest rewards of getting outside. Another said that patients in hospitals with a view or access to nature have faster recovery times. Office workers with a view experienced less job pressure and greater satisfaction with their work. Even planting trees and maintaining them has the restorative effect of giving back to our environment and communities. It can raise the actual self esteem of a given population. It’s almost as if they plant a little bit of their pride with the sapling.
This is a time when our collective consciousness has been raised to the focus of a healthy environment. We can all benefit from the simple beauty of a tree, roots to shoots, it signifies a connection to an earth we all desperately care about.
Simply put, most trees will out-live us humans. They’re living links to the past and continue to be an important part of our future. We can be smart, by renewing and maintaining our urban forest and it may make all the difference.