By Felicia Farnsworth

On March 18, 2021, Susan Anderson, president of the Union Springs Tree Committee, held an “extended” Arbor Day celebration at Union Springs City Hall. The Alabama Forest Commission gave away several different trees, including dogwood, redwood, and swamp white oak, and many other species of trees, on February 28, 2021, at the empty lot on Prairie Street.

Ms. Anderson asked Forestry Specialist Mark Richardson and Forest Ranger Jody McDonald to speak at the celebration and enlighten Bullock County citizens of the benefits of having trees. Other than the basic knowledge that trees provide oxygen, clean the air, and provide food, there are several other reasons we benefit from trees.

Trees help prevent water pollution by breaking rainfall and allowing the water to flow down the trunk and into the earth, preventing stormwater from gathering and carrying pollutants to the ocean. Trees have been known to reduce violence.

Having a landscaped yard helps reduce the level of fear, where barren homes have been known to have a greater incidence of violence. Trees can also create economic opportunities as well as bring diverse groups of people together. Some trees produce edible fruits or syrups; these include Sugar Maple trees for maple syrup, coffee from the Coffee tree, chocolate from the Cacao tree, and apples from the apple tree (Malus pumila), to name a few.

There are also several edible wild plants in Alabama, such as blackberry bushes that grow wild all over the state. The most common tree is the Pecan tree which produces edible nuts.

These trees can grow up to 100 feet tall and are featured on the Alabama state symbol. Dandelions and Fiddleheads are very good greens to cook and eat. For more information on how trees are beneficial, you can visit www.treepeople.org.

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