Observing Earth Day
An Earth Day Haiku
Cleansing our air – ahh!
Shady spots from lofty heights.
Lovely, useful – trees.
Earth Day has been a part of our culture for 40 years on April 22nd! This occasion inspired me to try writing a haiku, a Japanese style of poetry known for themes that include nature. In thinking about trees, which are undeniably important for our environment in providing clean air, cooling us down, preventing soil erosion, plus being a necessity in a large variety of products, I came across many, many fabulous facts about trees from lots of different sources.
1. “A single mature tree can release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings.” (Go to “Tree Facts”).
2. “The shade and wind buffering provided by trees reduces annual heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.”
4. “The Slowest Growing Tree
A White Cedar located in the Great Lakes area of Canada, has only grown to less than 4 inches tall during its 155 years.”
Since we’re located in Connecticut, here are two facts about oak trees, our state tree:
5. “Oak trees can start producing acorns when they are 20 years old, but sometimes can go all the way to 50 years for the first production. By the time the tree is 70 to 80 years old it will produce thousands of acorns.”
6. “Oak trees can live 200 or more years.”
It’s not just parks or even botanical gardens that are a haven for trees. Trees offer beauty on college/university campuses such as:
7. Albright College, a “118-acre campus tucked into a residential neighborhood of Reading, Pa.”, which is thriving with many trees, and even offers a self-guided tour. The school’s website actually lists and describes about 45 trees that are found on its campus. They have tulip trees, Japanese maples, American yellowwoods, and ginkgo, to name a few, all growing throughout the campus. At Albright College, they, “take pride in the beauty of our campus, nestled at the foot of Mount Penn. The campus is home to an exceptional variety of stately trees that contribute color, scent and shade.”
8. Also, Scripps College in Claremont, California, is, “frequently described as one of America’s most beautiful college campuses. The successful placement of buildings in a lush garden landscape and the intimate scale of this academic environment have been the setting for Ellen Browning Scripps’ “experiment in education” for more than 75 years.” At Scripps College, a “grand allée of American elms has been the site for graduation ceremonies each spring since 1947.”
9. “Planting 100 million trees could reduce the amount of carbon by an estimated 18 million tons per year and at the same time, save American consumers $4 billion each year on utility bills.”
10. Products – “Thousands of products are made from trees.” Apart from well-known products such as lumber, paper, and garden mulch, trees are responsible for other day-to-day items such as “vacuum cleaner bags,” “cooking utensils ,” and even “toothpaste.”
11. Lightest and Heaviest
“Balsa weighs about 7 lbs/cu.ft. (specific gravity = 0.11). It floats so well it almost jumps out of the water.”
“Black ironwood weighs about 81 lbs/cu.ft. (specific gravity = 1.30); Lignumvitae about 78 lbs/cu.ft. (sg = 1.25). They do not float well! (specific gravity of water = 1.00)”
12. “Studies have shown that trees can be a vital part of the healing process for people. Patients that can see trees from their hospital room windows tend to get better faster.”
13. “Moon Trees” inhabit the earth! Seeds from five varieties of trees made a trip to the moon aboard Apollo 14 back on January 31, 1971! After returning to Earth, they were taken to Houston to be decontaminated. These seeds were sent on to Forest Service stations in California and Mississippi where most of the seeds germinated and were grown until they were little seedlings. In 1975 and 1976, these seedlings were planted everywhere from the White House to Valley Forge to New Orleans, to mark the celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States (Sunday, July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.).
14. “To save one acre of trees, you have to recycle one ton of paper.”
15. Noise Pollution – Trees to the rescue! “Planting “noise buffers” composed of trees and shrubs can reduce noise five to ten decibels (reduces noise approximately 50% to the human ear).”
Protecting our trees, and our environment overall, is what Earth Day brings to our attention. Trees in particular can be appreciated for their sturdiness, beauty, and usefulness in many areas, which includes helping our environment.
Some past Diploma Frame Blog posts that may interest you:
5 Colleges Working On Their Green Efforts – August 25, 2008
More about Earth Day:
To read more about Haikus, which put an image in the reader’s mind in just 17 syllables consisting of only three lines of poetry, please check out these links:
Are there any other poets out there? If anyone has a Haiku about trees or nature that they would like to share, please post it in the comments section! We look forward to reading them!