Poem: Message from Essex

Message from Essex

If you own a tree, you have inherited a fortune.

There is no telling how many people old and young have stood
under it and given it their secrets.
It has been witness to all manner of history and fashion and weather.
The tree is a universe of insects and birds who
live in it or depend on it again and again for safe harbor.
Your tree is a symbol of everything careful and steady.

Each tree you own is a treasure
It is many pounds of precious substance which someone forgot
to measure and horde.

You might feel that new trees are not so valuable.
Though, new trees hold endless possibility, and, it is such a treat
to ponder if they rooted there by some wonderful calculation of nature,
or were planted by a person who thought of the future for you.

You might feel that small trees are not so valuable.
Though, many of them are ancient, too.
I was taught that the Tupelo tree does not grow wide, but in stands.
What looks like a clump of thin branches
is a tribe of people standing firmly in a circle, connected by deep roots.
The Tupelo I lost was 100 years old.

Of course, no one is truly worthy of owning a tree,
and it is an injustice that we try to.
Trees have not been emancipated, so we pass them on thoughtlessly.
It’s a cruel trade, paying for a plot of land
and releasing with it these stranded souls.
Trees are the forsaken brides in our system of backward dowries.

If you own a tree, you must guard it jealously.
Especially if the two of you live in a world
full of greed, plastic fences and quickness.
You must honor your tree by studying it and visiting it often.
You must never let anything–even your own desire
for space or your own carelessness–destroy your fragile dear one.

If you own a tree, you are as a king, or a mother,
someone who holds a precious gift
entangled with a million weighty obligations.
Like a weary mother you must drown yourself in your responsibilities,
so that your joy, too, can wash over you.

Your tree will never dance with you.
But, on breezy nights it will dance for you
and whisper the secrets it has gathered.
In your dreams, it can help you to fly.

Someday your tree will appear as the backdrop in a photo,
or in your memory as a swish of green defining
the boundaries of your homestead.
It will stand there, weathered and proud, the setting
for your whole, earthly existence.
And, you will know that you belonged because there was a tree.


by Kimberly Wilder

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Another use for trees: Your children can play around them!

From Newsday:

Experts: Let your kids play
by Michael Amon

…Friedman announced that Long Island will be a test site for a new kind of playground, one that uses nature to engage children’s imagination instead of monkey bars, swings and slides.

Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, a Nebraska-based youth research institution, will provide funding to train landscape architects and teachers in creating the playgrounds. The funding to build such playgrounds will have to come from county, state or other private sources, Friedman said.

Click here for the full story…all about the need for children to play

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1.6 Million new homes each year: Shade trees can help many have less energy use

Home with treesThe National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that 1.6 million new homes will be built each year over the next decade (NAHB 2002a). How these new developments are designed will have a major impact on energy use, the environment, and customer satisfaction.

Developers and site planners can set the stage for efficient communities and can
direct builders to protect a community’s value through quality building practices…

Planners should do all they can to avoid the entry of solar energy into houses
in summer. Site planners have two important tools to help avoid solar heat gain: lot
orientation and, in some areas, shade trees…

Click here for full article:

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Musings on trees and new construction:

Another Blogger posts about green building:

Marjie O’Connor: The Buzz on Green Building
April 30, 2007

Saving trees, saving money

One of the great things about blogs is that they provide a chance to vent pet peeves. So here’s one of mine: developers and builders who bulldoze every tree on the lot(s) before starting construction. I grew up in an older neighborhood with lots of huge trees, and I’ve planted a lot of trees in the yards of various homes I’ve had as an adult. However, those saplings will take years before they’re big enough to do much good.

Trees are part of green building. If the house is sited right on the lot, trees can help enormously in cooling it. Trees are also one of the most visible components of the environment that green building is supposed to protect. So why the clearcutting?

I got some answers when I talked to a couple of the writers who provided articles for our new “Outdoors package.” Turns out that from the builder’s point of view, saving the trees is more expensive than getting rid of them. With the pressure on new-home prices these days, I can’t blame builders for trying to save some money.

But what about looking at the big picture? A wooded lot is much more appealing to most homebuyers than one that has nothing but a house in the middle of it. The value of a mature tree in a yard seems to be hard to pin down, but I’d bet that it’s worth a whole lot more than even 100 newly planted saplings.

Do you try to save trees when you build? Have you found any good ways to protect them during construction? Please share your tips with the rest of us. Thanks in advance.

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Good example: from Arlington Virginia

From a site that encourages green building: 

“Designing your home to reduce stormwater runoff helps protect Arlington’s streams, the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Minimize the building footprint and reduce driveway pavement. Use water from downspouts to water the garden. Save existing trees on the site. Use native plant species for your landscaping. These are just some ideas to make your home an environmentally friendly place!”

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Video of trees being removed for a home

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Hello world!

Making a space to think about the values of trees. And, to encourage home-buyers to understand the value of wooded lots.

The hope is to communicate to developers that it is worth it to save as many trees as possible on a new home site.

An upcoming project will be a way for people to register as someone whose dream home has trees.

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