Trees Make You FEEL Good

from Evan Sims


Here we are in June, and the start of summer, a time when one of the most prominent benefits of trees is appreciated, shade!  I recently flew to San Jose, and drove up to Palo Alto for a stop on our Trees and Technology workshop tour. With me was Matt, a new addition to the Tree Plotter team.  Although he will not need to become a certified arborist to effectively perform his job, I find it imperative to educate all of our non-arborist staff about the value and benefits of trees.  

This short trip proved to be a great opportunity for show and tell. If you have not been to Palo Alto, the urban forest there is absolutely amazing. There is a long standing history, culture, and city policy that has enabled this community to maintain beautiful mature tree canopy coverage.  In our short free time, we were able to walk and drive around town observing 4 foot + diameter coast redwood street trees, and street after street of tree canopies over arching like long green tunnels. It was inspiring for me as an arborist, and I could tell Matt was also appreciating how it felt to cruise around a community like this.  

Later on, it was time to head home, and we drove back to San Jose. Slowly the tree canopy decreased, temperatures rose, and the feeling was different. We stopped for lunch in a relatively similar neighborhood demographic to that of Palo Alto. Immediately, Matt commented on surprisingly how much hotter it was (only about 12 miles from Palo Alto).  I pointed out that something just felt different too, aside from the heat.  

From my grin he caught on pretty quickly and said, “Yeah WOW! I knew trees provide shade, but somehow being surrounded by trees makes you feel differently”.  There has been important research performed to calculate the monetary benefit trees provide (check out our Eco Benefits add-on module, based on i-Tree), but there is also an intangible quality to trees that just makes you feel better.  You don’t always appreciate something until it’s gone, so think twice about what will be lost when considering the removal of a mature tree, there could be an alternative option to achieve the same goal.

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