Sometimes there is speculation as to why SWIM works hard to educate the public about the importance of trees. After all, they are not in the water or on the beaches. Trees, however, are critically important to our environment, especially to our own health and the health of our land and water. They improve the quality of the air we breathe by consuming carbon dioxide, producing oxygen and trapping pollution. Their leafy canopy provides shade, thereby reducing air temperature, and also absorbs noise. Leaves function as windbreaks. The roots of trees absorb water thereby reducing erosion and stabilizing the ground. Roots absorb pollutants such as heavy metals and bacteria which are dangerous to us, our children, our pets and the bodies of water around us. Roots absorb nitrogen and phosphates which degrade and pollute our wells, lakes, rivers and oceans. Trees provide food for humans and animals.

What can you do?

Consider planting a tree if you own land. Tall or short, every tree makes a difference. Support your town in generating tree planting initiatives, for example to become a member of Tree City U.S.A. (part of the National Arbor Day Foundation). Volunteer to water newly planted trees. Report any damage or threats to trees. There is satisfaction and joy in seeing trees grow tall – especially if you have taken part in planting them.