Georgia Arbor Day, which is celebrated each year on the third Friday of February, will be here soon. In honor of Arbor Day, Keep Liberty Beautiful hopes to give out more than 200 trees to be planted in our community this year. To get you thinking about trees and how amazing they are, here are 10 amazing tree facts:
• Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska in 1872. That state is now home to one of the world’s largest forests planted by people — more than 200,000 acres of trees.
• Trees receive an estimated 90 percent of their nutrition from the atmosphere and only 10 percent from the soil.
• Trees grow from the top, not from the bottom as is commonly believed. A branch’s location on a tree will only move up the trunk a few inches in 1,000 years.
• No tree dies of old age. They are generally killed by insects, disease or by people. California bristlecone pines and giant sequoias are regarded as the oldest trees and have been known to live 4,000 to 5,000 years.
• There are about 20,000 tree species in the world.
• The largest area of forest in the tropics is the Amazon Basin with an area of 81.5 million acres.
• Some trees can “talk” to each other. When willows are attacked by webworms and caterpillars, they emit a chemical that alerts nearby willow of the danger. The neighboring trees then respond by pumping more tannin into their leaves, making it difficult for the insects to digest the leaves.
• Knocking on wood for good luck originated from primitive tree worship when rapping on trees was believed to summon protective spirits in the trees.
• Trees can induce rainfall by cooling the land and transpiring water into the sky from their leaves. An acre of maple trees can put as much as 20,000 gallons of water into the air each day.
• The most massive living thing on earth is the giant sequoia in the Redwood Forest of California. It stands nearly 30 stories tall and 82.3 feet in circumference. Its weight is estimated at 2,756 tons.
Now that you are totally amazed by how fascinating trees are, here are a couple ways that you can celebrate trees this month.
• Community tree giveaway to celebrate Georgia Arbor Day: Keep Liberty Beautiful, with the help of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Forestry Commission, the Coastal Courier and Brewer’s Christmas Tree Farm is once again providing free trees — dogwoods, crepe myrtles, oaks and redbuds — in February for planting. We want to encourage any civic groups, schools, churches, businesses and municipalities to reserve a tree or trees to plant while our supplies last. We have 4-6 foot dogwoods, oaks and crepe myrtles. Call Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 14 and the trees will be available Feb. 14-18.
The trees are free. We only ask that you take a picture of your group or employees planting the trees and e-mail us your picture with information by Feb. 22 so that we can include it in a full-page spread in the Coastal Courier during the third week of February.
The tree giveaway for local residents is on Saturday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at our quarterly Recycle It! Fair, where we accept electronics and household hazardous waste items for recycling. We will have 100 trees — dogwoods, oaks, cedars and crepe myrtles — to give away to local residents. We’ll be at the corner of Carter Street and Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. Once again, the trees are free, but we would love to receive an e-mailed picture of your family planting one.
• Arbor Day photo contest: If you are a photography buff, plan now to participate in the Arbor Day photo contest and exhibit, sponsored this year by the Hinesville Area Arts Council. We are looking for local amateur photographers to share their photographic interpretation of area coastal trees. Here are the main contest rules:
• Contestants must be in either the 12-17 age category or the 18-and-older category.
• All entries must be received by Feb. 10 to qualify.
• Only electronic submissions are allowed via e-mail or on disc submitted to the chamber office.
• No file sizes larger than 2 MB are allowed.
• Prizes will be given to first-, second- and third-place winners.
• The contest is free to enter.
• All tasteful photos of a coastal tree will be accepted.
• Entries will be scored based on creativity, clarity, quality and closeness to subject.
• An exhibit of all the entries will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18 at the Liberty County Schools Performing Arts Center. Awards will be given out at the exhibit. For more information, go to www.hinesvillearts.com .
More events for you:
• Through Feb. 15: Phonebook recycling. Turn in phonebooks at collection boxes around the county. For information, call 880-4888.
• Jan. 26: Shred day from 1-3 p.m. at building 419 furniture store parking lot on Fort Stewart. Call 767-8613.