By Dave Coulter
Today is Arbor Day, the day when we are to celebrate trees. Last Sunday was Earth Day. So if you sense that society has been trying to send you a message the past few days you're catching on. But back to trees. For people like me - green workers who have been laboring in Vineyards of Earth - every day is Arbor Day or Earth Day.
So today I want to encourage you loyal readers to plant an oak, or another native Illinois tree. Every chance I get I tell people to plant oak trees. (Don't question this, I can provide references). Why? Because we're losing our oaks in the midwest. Tree advocates such as I hear stories like this all of the time. The tree in today's picture is a nice old Red oak. I happen to be very fond of this tree because it's in my neighborhood and I once saw a Scarlet Tanager in it.
It's a pretty picture isn't it?
Well, if we Northern Illinois Earthlings don't do something about it images like this will become distant memories. So, if we want future generations to understand an oak forests - and the pretty birds that depend on them - we had better get busy. And oaks are just one vulnerable native species. Ash trees, soon to be wiped out, make up something like 20% of the trees in what native woodlands that remain in the state, never mind the ones we've planted on streets and in yards.
Folks, we are rolling along quite merrily to a bleak future of buckthorn forests. I'm not just saying this for dramatic effect. The USDA, and others, study these things routinely. Talk to anyone who works in this arena, and they'll surely give you an earful of their own. So, I hope this Arbor Day you're inspired to enjoy trees, and maybe to plant a new tree. It's a fun holiday that we should take a bit more seriously.
Get those hands dirty!