Don’t do it because it’s Arbor Day, do it because it helps the atmosphere

We need the trees
The importance of Michigan's trees
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 6:47 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Friday its goal of planting 50 million trees by 2030. It was a fitting announcement on the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day at a time when trees are more important than ever.

Trees do a lot more in the environment than provide pleasing aesthetics. Trees take in CO2, which we breathe out, and they convert that to oxygen, which we use to take another breath. Trees take in pollutants from the air and rain water, provide food for pollinators, birds, and other wildlife -- but trees also sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce global climate change. And for your wallet, trees help reduce heating and cooling costs in your home.

“We’re seeing more climate changes issues -- droughts, colder weather, hotter weather. So if we’re seeing those, let’s take care of our trees,” said Carolyn Miller, who manages plant and tree records at Michigan State University’s Beal Botanical Garden. Miller also says, “[trees] can mitigate water from these intensive rain events we’re getting. Trees will suck up water and reduce the amount of water that actually flows into our street and into our sewer systems.”

Miller said it’s important to plant native Michigan trees and plants because those are designed to thrive in and support Michigan’s climate.

“That’s really what you want to put in your yard,” Miller said. “Native trees, native shrubs, put some native Michigan plants in as well because they’re all good for the environment and they all co-evolve with our insects and wildlife.”

Miller offers some advice to people who want to help keep the atmosphere free of pollution: put plants inside your home to improve your indoor air quality and plant native trees and plants in your yard to reduce mowing the lawn and kicking out combustion from lawn equipment because that goes back into the atmosphere.

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