“And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree very much. And the tree was happy.”
This quote, from Shel Silverstein’s book, “The Giving Tree,” illustrates perfectly how some of our summers may be going: relaxing under the protection of a tree that is constantly providing us with shade, nourishment and beauty.
“The Giving Tree” is written around a central message, told through a story of a boy growing old with his tree. It’s about remembering to be thankful for one another. As a result of reading and enjoying the book, people have created family handprint trees or fingerprint trees to represent their bonds.
Just like the tree in the book, our trees are always giving to us, especially with the benefits of the shade. On a hot, sunny days that we can expect this summer, trees help lower bills from air conditioners and naturally cool homes. In fact, a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours per day.
Now, this classic book has inspired another creative project: a wooden bench, created from the wood of a tree that had to be removed to make room for a new charitable facility.
Recently, five crewmembers from Maier Tree & Lawn, a newly acquired Davey company, removed a large American elm to make room for The Place For Everyone, a facility that now houses the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester and the Child Care Resource and Referral Group.
With the help of Marcy and Steve Wolfe of the local Panera Bread, Daryl Nigon of Nigon Woodworks and Nick Manahan of Manahan’s Machine Shop, Maier turned the leftover wood into a bench for A Chair Affair, an annual charity gala that auctions artisan-created chairs to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester.
The bench’s theme came from “The Giving Tree.” Engraved on the bench is a quote from the book, space for two copies of the book and a planter in which a new tree can grow. So, in a sense, the removed tree became a giving tree itself, says Jay Maier, founder of Maier.
“The book addresses all aspects of the importance of trees,” Maier explains. “It’s not all about saving trees that makes them so good, but it is also about how useful they can be once they are gone.”
Maier says he also uses “The Giving Tree” as inspiration elsewhere. To celebrate Arbor Day every year, he reads the book to kindergarten classes in the area and talks with grade school students about the importance of trees.
“Seeing what this project did for the Boys and Club still makes me smile,” Maier says. “The project helped validate how important our jobs and trees are.”
Now, just like the tree, the bench can give community members a place to rest. This summer, be sure to remember how trees are always working to give us a place to relax in the shade and providing us with endless benefits. Feel free to share how trees continue to benefit your summer in the comment section below, or share a tree-themed community project you’ve experienced recently!