More Forests, More Happiness, More Real Wealth

My husband and I notice a marked difference in how we feel going into the Watershed Stewardship park in Parma. Trees provide a noise barrier, enclosing us in nature and its sounds and insulating us from road sounds. We feel a calmness envelop us, that the air has a different quality, more nourishing.

In 2006 we read the book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. Over and over, Diamond stressed the importance of trees, of making more land forested. This has had a great impact on us and since reading the book I’ve wanted to become much more involved in helping secure nature’s good health, and thus ours. This is what it means to truly be wealthy.

Trees are such a vital part of our healthy, happy well-being on this planet. They provide oxygen, beautiful neighborhoods, help prevent erosion, grab carbon from the atmosphere, feed wildlife and provide habitat, help cool off cities and reduce energy consumption.

Part of my to-do list was to start a tree growing program in Cleveland. The city already plants trees, but it can do more. I would like for residents to easily be able to grow trees in their neighborhoods on public property without too much difficulty. At the moment the city really wants people to have insurance to plant on public property, to work via some kind of organization and has a bunch of requirements for the trees, too, and it’s not so easy to get calls back from the Urban Forestry Department.

I haven’t yet succeeded in starting this program, but am working on starting an Arbor Day program with a neighborhood school. I envision kids taking seedlings home and planting them in their yards and coordination between the Metroparks and local schools to plant more trees on public property, too.

I did figure out a way to grow more trees this autumn, though. Smith & I are doing some Cleveland Metroparks tree growing events. It’s for volunteers who have registered with the Metroparks Volunteer program. It’s pretty easy to join–just apply online, go to an orientation session and join up with various events on the volunteer calendar.


Teachers: Start an Arbor Day program in your classroom
Resources for educators from Arbor Day Foundation

Project Learning-Tree Ohio
Helps educators with balanced, non-biased learning experiences for early childhood through 12th grade that encompass the total environment-land, air, water, plants, and animals (including humans)

How to become a Metroparks Volunteer
Apply online or contact Jenn Grieser and Sam Catella at
216-372-2516 or

Guide to Healthy Trees

Ohio Tree Index
Around a hundred trees that are common to Ohio

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