Take a step outside. Walk around the neighborhood and look around.
Does your eye follow the cars sitting bumper-to-bumper along the busy streets or observe the young trees lining the sidewalks? Do you first notice the "Open" sign at your favorite restaurant or the hours listing at the local park? Where do you turn to when you need a break - the local shopping mall or the hike and bike trail on the outskirts of town?
Whether we'll admit it or not, sometimes all we need is a little tree-therapy. Trees make us happy. Their presence can ease our minds, and their existence can help heal. But, unfortunately, some areas lack forests and other wooded areas - some areas could use a little more green.
Fairmount Minerals, one of the largest producers of industrial sand in the U.S., leads an organization on a quest to plant more trees in the northeast Ohio region. This year, one of Ohio's regional parks - the Portage Park District - welcomed thousands of native trees to take root on its land.
On April 18, volunteers from Davey Resource Group (DRG) helped Fairmount Minerals' Quest for Eco Efficiency (QEE) plant seedlings in the Morgan Preserve, located in Shalersville, Ohio. The project supported QEE's reforestation goals for the region. This voluntary, self-regulated program was adopted several years ago in an effort to offset emissions from their plants by planting trees to sequester carbon.
The 17 volunteers from Fairmount Minerals and DRG's Karen Wise, Greg Snowden and Mark Johnson helped plant 5,800 seedlings at the site. The tree species they planted included red maple, sycamore, swamp white oak, pin oak and black gum. "Part of Quest's goals is to spend a certain amount of money on local reforestation programs - Fairmount Minerals bought $3,000 worth of seedlings for the project," Wise explains. "It is also important to them to encourage their employees to volunteer in the community and actively participate in these re-vegetation projects."
Impressed by the collaborative effort DRG was involved with at Morgan Preserve, Wise says: "We had a great day. We had super weather and some very hard working and dedicated volunteers." The volunteers were so focused on completing the project, they agreed to stay an extra hour to plant the remaining seedlings, Wise adds.
Fairmount Minerals' projects and initiatives exemplify its philosophy, "Do Good - Do Well," and the Morgan Preserve planting was no different. Because forests provide us with numerous benefits, we can't pass up the opportunity to plant more trees and beautify the land that could otherwise become crowded with office buildings, parking lots and developments.
Although the Morgan Preserve is not open to public visitation, the seedlings that now occupy a portion of its 504 acres are and will continue to be valuable to the surrounding environment. The preserve, located in Shalersville, Ohio, belongs to Portage Park District, which hopes to acquire the necessary operating funds to build trails and hire rangers someday. The land was acquired through a partnership with government agencies, private donors and a nonprofit land trust. The property features several rare and endangered species, including the yellow-bellied sapsucker bird, as well as wetlands, woods and fields, which protect 8,000 linear feet of a tributary to the Upper Cuyahoga River.
So the next time you need a break, remember the places and spaces that are more hidden but also important to our health and existence. Visit the trails and forests nearby and appreciate their presence, enjoying the peace and quiet among the trees.