While COVID-19 may have canceled community tree planting events, it can’t cancel the spirit of National Arbor Day. Today, perhaps more than ever, is a day to celebrate trees and their promise of a better future.
Like you, my daily life is different from what it once was. Each day of social distancing and home isolation seems right out of the movie Groundhog Day, only this is no comedy. Every screen—TV, computer, phone—is non-stop COVID-19 news. It’s sad, it’s scary, and there seems no end in sight.
Then I look out the window, and I see hope on full display. Since March, I have watched the daily wonder of trees emerging from winter. Pink and white flowers paint our communities like Monet would a masterpiece. Birds build nests and sing in leafy green branches. The neighbors’ kids play hide-and-seek in the woods behind my house. I see beauty, feel joy, and know new life is here.
On Arbor Day, I reflect on how trees have been so important in my life. As magical forts and hiding places. As backdrops to outdoor adventures. As my chosen field of study and the focus of my career. Now, thanks to COVID-19 shortages, we all have a new appreciation for the most humble of forest products—toilet paper.
Americans are resilient and we will weather this COVID-19 storm. In his most recent State of the Union address, President Trump announced that the United States would support a global effort to plant a trillion trees. Around the world, people are realizing that trees are an important part of any solution to climate change. Trees will help us out of this crisis too.
Yes, Arbor Day gives us hope for a brighter future. Thank a state forestry agency employee when you can and celebrate trees from home today with the hashtag #arbordayathome. NASF will join you.