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February is great time to hug a tree

Keep Liberty Beautiful

POSTED: February 6, 2018 3:00 p.m.
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Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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Have you thanked a tree lately for all of the good stuff it does for us? February is a good time to do so if you have been taking our trees for granted.

Georgia’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday of February each year. So take a few moments this month to be thankful for the many benefits we receive from trees — or better yet, take a few minutes to plant a tree to increase our tree canopy.

Each year, Keep Liberty Beautiful has a tree giveaway on the weekend of Arbor Day to encourage local citizens to grow trees. This will be our 10th year and we invite you to join us in this tree planting effort.

We will be distributing trees at four locations: from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 16 at Farmers Natural Foods; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Recycle It! sites in Hinesville, Midway and Walthourville.

For many years now, we have offered residents, schools, businesses, churches and cities interested in tree planting to reserve a tree from Feb. 5-9.

Our limited number of trees are reserved very quickly, so I urge you to contact us during next week if you are interested.

We will have dogwoods, white oaks, sawtooth oaks, oleanders, crape myrtles (red, white, lavender, and pink) and maybe a few other varieties. Trees are limited, so we can only offer one tree per household while our supplies last.

Why do trees matter? Let me share several reasons why you should plant trees:

Trees clean the air. Trees give off oxygen, so we can breathe. Be thankful for that.

Trees shade and cool. In a hot summer, it is sooo easy to be thankful for a shade tree.

A tree is a natural air conditioner. The evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room-size, residential air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.

Trees reduce stress. The color green and views of nature de-stress us and help us relax. Doesn’t everyone need a calming effect these days?

Trees – and nature – even have a healing effect on patients in hospitals. Hospital patients all need a room with a view.

Trees improve the soil. They also deter erosion and reduce stormwater runoff.

Trees reduce violence. Yes, really. Tree lined streets have lower crime rates.

Trees increase property value. Homes well landscaped with trees sell for 5 percent to 15 percent more. Doesn’t that make you want to have more trees?

Trees enhance the view. Strategically placed trees can screen unattractive views and soften the harsh urban hardscape of masonry, metal, asphalt, steel and glass.

Trees bring people together. People walk and jog more on shaded streets, which encourages interaction with neighbors and improves the sense of community.

Trees support and provide habitat for wildlife. Everybody on our planet needs a place to live.

Well-placed trees can also reduce noise pollution, like traffic, by 40 percent.

So join us this month as we increase the tree canopy in our communities.

Do not forget, our Recycle It! Fairs will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at these locations:

• Liberty County Health Department, 1113 East Oglethorpe Highway, Hinesville

• Liberty County Community Complex, 9397 East Oglethorpe Highway, Midway

• Walthourville City Hall, 222 Busbee Drive, Walthourville (Shred It! will also be available here)

For more information or to reserve a tree, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at keeplibertycountybeautiful@gmail.com or at 912-880-4888.

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