The tornado outbreak that ripped across the Midwest last weekend left thousands of residents with nothing more than shattered homes, trees, rubble — the only souvenir left by the disaster covers the grounds where towns once stood— and, most importantly, hope.
The most recent storm is a reminder that natural disasters will strike anywhere, without an invitation. As a result, it’s vital we’re prepared to protect the areas affected most. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Community Tree Recovery was created out of the great need for trees in the wake of natural disasters, and began by providing tree relief to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Replanting trees after a tragedy helps survivors to look to the future; a reminder to be hopeful. Trees bring beauty, healing, and hope to areas in most need.
Trees don’t only serve as means of beautification; they play an essential role in environmental sustainability. They help fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air. They lower energy costs by providing shade around your home. When planted along streams and wetlands they prevent erosion and clean the water. Trees provide home to surrounding habitat, not to mention the nutritional value their fruits have to offer. Unfortunately, in the rouse of natural disaster, trees are also the most common casualty. By replanting trees after a tragedy we help to restore a sense of hope to the community and its members.
After the severe tornado damage caused in Joplin, Missouri in the spring of 2011, the Arbor Day Foundation joined forces with the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center to distribute 12,000 trees to residents in four Joplin-area locations.
“Trees are part of the long and important history of the people and the land of their state,” said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation vice president of programs.
As noted earlier, the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster is what lead the Arbor Day Foundation to team up with the National Audubon Society and launch the Community Tree Recovery campaign. The campaign has since planted more than 120,000 new trees to residents impacted by the storm.
You can help rebuild communities struck by natural disasters by donating to the Community Tree Recovery campaign. This fund allows us to be prepared to provide trees for distribution in communities like Joplin and New Orleans. Remember, trees bring beauty, healing, and hope to areas in most need.