Free Tree Programs: Painting The World With Trees

National Arbor Day: Painting The World With Trees

Picture two Brownie Girl Scouts in uniform. One is holding a small tree, a two-year-old seedling, and the other is trying valiantly to dig a hole for the tree to live in. She can't quite make a dent in the hard clay soil of the old strip mine land, so an older girl of 19 comes over to lend a hand. Between the three of them, they plant 25 trees in an hour, two digging and one waiting patiently until it is her turn to lovingly cover the roots with soil. It seems like slow planting, but it sure feels satisfying when the hour is up.

I should know; I was the older girl who helped the Girl Scouts. The three of us, and over 500 other students and adults, celebrated Arbor Day 1994 by planting 17,000 trees on an old strip-mine. Someday the once bare hillside will be covered with trees, and children will run through trails in the woods. I feel proud to have helped make it so.

Celebrate Trees

That day of planting was just one day during "Tree Week" in Ohio. This year, over 500,000 students learned about the importance of trees for providing food and shelter, for purifying the air, for animals' habitats, even for shade. Teachers took their students outdoors to look for signs of spring and learn the difference between conifer and deciduous trees (in other words, between evergreens and hardwoods.) Children packed individual trees into plastic sandwich bags to take home and plant in their yards. But the busiest place of all was the office of the American Free Tree Program, the organizers of Tree Week.

The American Free Tree Program, AFTP, is a non-profit organization that believes the easiest way we can help the Earth is for all of us to plant one tree every year for life. Six years ago my dad began a project to give trees to as many people as he could. Some of his trees went to schools, some to churches, some to farmers with extra land, some to businesses for their employees, and some to people who simply expressed interest in trees.

Millions of Trees Planted

This year, over 900,000 "tree volunteers", like the Girl Scouts and myself, planted more than 1.7 million trees in Ohio. Across the country, other people have liked my dad's idea, and have started new Free Tree Programs. In six years, AFTP volunteers have planted 4.75 million trees around the country.

In addition to planting hundreds of trees this year, I have been working at the AFTP national headquarters in Canton, Ohio. Last year, I helped to organize Tree Week projects, answered leaders' questions about running their tree giveaways, handled calls from all over Ohio, and created newsletters, reports, and volunteer training manuals on the computer.

There are many ways student volunteers can help AFTP reforest America. Most of all, we need every person to look around their own yard, neighborhood, or city to see where trees can be planted. We need leaders to say, "Hey, we need a Free Tree Program here and I'm going to be the one to start it." Contact the Arbor Day Foundation to find out when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state.

Editor's Note: National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area.

InnerSelf Recommended book:

The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make A Big Difference
by Ellis Jones, Ross Haenfler, and Brett Johnson

For More Info or to Order This Book.

About The Author

Sara Kidd was 19 and entering her sophomore year at Kent State University, Ohio when she wrote this article. She is studying Spanish and planning to teach some day. In addition to her work for the AFTP, she is secretary of the Vegetarian Club of Canton. If you want to encourage tree planting in your area, please write to: Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410. 402-474-5655. Sara can be reached at: American Free Tree Program, P.O. Box 9079, Canton, OH 44711.

You May Also Like

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




couple looking out at a hugely enlarged sphere of Pluto
Pluto in Aquarius: Transforming Society, Empowering Progress
by Pam Younghans
Dwarf planet Pluto left the sign of Capricorn and entered Aquarius on March 23, 2023. Pluto's sign…
norse myths 3 15
Why Old Norse Myths Endure in Popular Culture
by Carolyne Larrington
From Wagner to William Morris in the late 19th century, via Tolkien’s dwarves and CS Lewis’s The…
a drawing of two joined hands - one consisting of peace symbols, the other of hearts
You Don’t Go to Heaven, You Grow to Heaven
by Barbara Y. Martin and Dimitri Moraitis
Metaphysics teaches that you don't go to Heaven just because you have been a good person; you grow…
removing mold from concrete 7 27
How to Clean Mold and Mildew Off A Concrete Deck
by Robert Jennings,
Since I am gone for six months in the summer, the dirt, mildew, and mold can build up. And that can…
AI generated photos?
Faces Created by AI Now Look More Real than Genuine Photos
by Manos Tsakiris
Even if you think you are good at analysing faces, research shows many people cannot reliably…
image of people around a campfire
Why We Still Need Storytelling
by Rev. James B. Erickson
Among humans, storytelling is universal. It is what connects us to our humanity, links us to our…
deepfake voice scams 7 18
Voice Deepfakes: What They Are and How to Avoid Getting Scammed
by Matthew Wright and Christopher Schwartz
You have just returned home after a long day at work and are about to sit down for dinner when…
dangers of ai 3 15
AI Isn’t Thinking and Feeling – The Danger Lies in Thinking It Can
by Nir Eisikovits
ChatGPT and similar large language models can produce compelling, humanlike answers to an endless…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities | | | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.