Plant a tree on Arbor Day 2014

Arbor Day 2014

When I was a kid, I took trees for granted. We had a beautiful pirie mango tree in the front yard, and a haden mango tree and lychee tree in the back yard. I remember climbing on the lower branches. I enjoyed spotting golden ripe mangoes through the leaves and helping to pick them. Today, those trees are gone, cut down to make way for a larger house. I miss those trees.

So I think it’s wonderful that we celebrate Arbor Day by planting more trees. Arbor Day has been celebrated in Hawaii for over 100 years. Ever since 1905, we’ve celebrated by planting trees and shrubs, and giving away seedlings. Let’s try to plant another tree in our yards or raise another shrub on our lanais. We can all do a little bit to help clean the air, provide oxygen and food, and cool our homes.

This weekend, on Saturday, November 8, 3,200 trees will be given away on Oahu and the Big Island. (Kauai and Maui already celebrated Arbor Day by giving away over 2,000 trees on November 1).

* On Oahu: On November 8, Hawaiian Electric and its partners will give away 2,700 trees and shrubs, one per family, at six locations around the island: the Hawaiian Electric Kahe Power Plant in Wai‘anae at 7 am, the Urban Garden Center in Pearl City at 7 am, McKinley High School in Honolulu from 7 am, the Hawaiian Electric Koolau Base Yard in Kailua from 7 am, the Wahiawā Botanical Garden in Wahiawā from 9 am, and Waimea Valley in Hale‘iwa from 9 am.

On the Big Island: On November 7, 8, and 9, join the three-day Arbor Day celebration at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook. 500 native trees will be given away, one per person, from 9 am to 1 pm, on all three days, while supplies last. There will also be guided tours (with paid admission) and woodworking demonstrations.

Here are a few more ideas to celebrate trees this Arbor Day weekend:

* Choose the right tree for your home. Read “The Right Tree for the Right Place” for tips on choosing, placing, planting, and caring for trees.

* Talk about why trees are important. TreePeople shares 22 benefits of trees, besides climbing trees or hanging on tire swings.

* Trees are works of art. DLTK’s Crafts for Kids has a series of worksheets about tree-themed famous works of art. Kids can learn about famous artists, color their own artwork, and compare paintings with Venn diagrams.

* Imagine that you are a tree. What kind of tree would you be? Kids and adults can let their imaginations grow with this creative writing prompt from Teach-nology.com (click on “Print this worksheet” for an add-free version).

* Tell a tree joke. The Morton Arboretum has some tree jokes that you can tell children. Just be prepared to hear their favorite joke over and over.

What trees and shrubs do you have in your lawn or lanai? What are your favorite memories of trees?

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