It's in our nature to take things for granted, and one of the best examples of that may be trees. Read below to learn just how many benefits trees have, from local student Faith Travis. -Jana
By Faith Travis
How do trees help you? Trees help you, the community, and the world much more than you might expect! Although trees are often overlooked in our daily lives, they play a vital role in the way we live. Trees have many benefits including reducing the effects of climate change, increasing our air quality, providing soil stabilization, contributing to our health, providing wildlife habitat, and much more.
The trees in our community are constantly helping us. The leaves and bark of trees absorb harmful pollutants and reduce the greenhouse gas effect that contributes to climate change. Trees then release clean air for us to breathe. They even help prevent flooding by providing soil stabilization. Tree roots grow deep into soil holding it in place when there is heavy rain and reducing erosion. Trees benefit our physical and mental health. Having trees around reduces stress, anxiety, and lets us reconnect with nature. UC Berkeley even found that
patients in a hospital with views of trees recovered faster. Trees have countless benefits that are largely unseen. A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insects, moss, fungi, and more! Additionally without forests and trees, many animals would have nowhere to live. For our world to function well, we need to protect trees.
In our community, there is a lot being done to protect trees. Wenatchee Valley College is actually a certified Tree Campus. This means WVC helps create a more sustainable environment for our community while instilling a sense of pride in our campus and its diverse treescape. By protecting trees, we are doing our part to store carbon out of the atmosphere. Plus, the trees on campus provide critical mental health benefits to students, staff, and other community members who spend time among them.
Unfortunately, every 1.2 seconds humans destroy a forest area the size of a football field. Deforestation comes in many forms and continues for economic reasons around the world. Researchers say 28,000 species are expected to become extinct in the next 25 years due to deforestation. Is there anything we can do to stop deforestation and help the trees? Yes, there are many things we can do as students and as a community.
As a student, you can join or even start clubs at your school. At Wenatchee Valley College there is a Tree Campus and Sustainability Committee you can join to do hands-on work to help build a sustainable campus and help support our tree campus. As a community member, you can join groups that advocate for trees and a sustainable environment. For example, Sustainable Wenatchee is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental stewardship and advocates for sustainability in the Wenatchee Valley. Or you could volunteer with Cascadia Conservation District which works to promote forest health in our region. If you don’t want to join a group you can help on your own by planting native trees at home, recycling, reducing waste, and by reusing as much as you can. A common sustainability practice is drinking from reusable water bottles to reduce single-use plastic water bottles! Another important thing you can do is to vote to save the environment. Research where candidates stand on logging, mining, and climate change. You want to vote for people who will fight for our environment because those are the people who care about our future. Protect trees because they are vital if we want a future.
Faith is a first year running start student from Westside High School. She is currently working toward her Associate Degree in Math and Science. She enjoys spending her free time volunteering as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind and backpacking in the North Cascades.