It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

I am blessed to live in the eastern United States where trees are plentiful! The shape and beauty calms and inspires me. I love staring up into a mature tree's branches to see birds and squirrels playing or seeking refuge. A mature tree with a full canopy is a sight to behold, epecially when the fall colors are at their peak. Trees nurture my soul and have a calming effect on me. They are cool and cooling. Conversely it saddens me to see trees that are dying, whether due to disease or the end of their life span.

Trees have many outstanding benefits, so I am resolute about doing whatever I can to help change Cleveland’s Rust Belt image and restore Cleveland’s reputation as the Forest City. Going from Rust Belt to Green Belt is a doable goal and proudly one that Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District staff has wholeheartedly embraced. The staff is passionate and committed to initiatives that include education about trees, their benefits, and their care--in Cleveland proper and in all of Cuyahoga County.

Certified Tree Stewards Training and Tree Commission Academy graduates, the staff promotes the planting and care of trees as basic conservation practices. We consider trees to be the original “green infrastructure” that has become even more important as the intensity of rain events increases. Trees are not only beautiful, but functional as well. They help capture, filter and slow down runoff that carries sediment and pollutants to our streams and contributes to erosion problems. All of which are rationale for our tree-centric projects that include education and workshops, as well as tree planting events. In addition, the staff is active on the Cleveland Tree Coalition, the Forest City Working Group and is extremely outspoken about proper planting, mulching and stewardship.

So, for those of you who understand the importance of trees, please join our efforts to help restore our tree canopy in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. We need your help! There are abundant resources out there to help you learn more. Check out the Cleveland Tree Coalition (http://www.clevelandtrees.org); Holden Arboretum (http://www.holdenarb.org/community-engagement/reforesting-the-forest-city-the-cleveland-tree-plan/); and Western Reserve Land Conservancy (https://www.wrlandconservancy.org/whatwedo/reforest-our-city/) for more information. Like the Cuyahoga SWCD on Facebook and check our events on the website.

And here’s some great news for those who live in Cleveland: Get a free tree for your home! Check out Cleveland Community Canopy, a program to help you choose where to plant trees on your property for maximum energy savings. In fewer than 10 minutes, you can pick a tree, choose where to plant it, and have it shipped straight to your home.

Click here for information on how to properly plant and care for a young tree.

Blog author: Janine Rybka, Director

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