People and Trees

A picture of a farm. There are two tree in the forefront, one big and one shorter and rounder. Next to he big tree is a garage. Behind the smaller rounder tree the farm. There are blue skies and fluffy clouds in the background. There is grass all over the ground and is fairly flat.

Have you ever visited the Palouse country in eastern Washington? If you have, then you’re familiar with the miles and miles of rolling hills planted with various crops. When I was there recently, I was struck by the lack of trees. Then I noticed something. Interspersed among the hills from time to time, you’ll see a group of trees surrounding a house. Around the houses, there are always trees. You never see a house without trees. Sometimes you’ll see a patch of trees without a house, but you won’t see a house without trees. People always want to have trees nearby.

Trees are comforting. People feel sheltered and safe beneath trees. People like to lean on trees and children have a natural affinity for climbing trees. Some people never outgrow this affinity. Trees make people feel better.

Trees near houses have a lot of practical benefits. Trees keep an area warmer in winter and cooler in the summer heat. Trees provide fruit to eat. They form a windbreak that mitigates the force of the wind. Evergreen trees are a spot of color in the winter grays and that color provides a mood boost. Trees remove pollutants from their environment. Trees provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

There are many studies that have shown that things like anxiety and depression are lessened by being in nature. The Japanese practice of ‘Forest Bathing’ is an example of this. Studies have shown that autistic and behaviorally challenged students focus better when surrounded by nature.

The simple fact of the matter is that trees are good for us in many ways.

– Katha Miller-Winder, President