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photo:Kelly Pargett
Kelly Pargett
Community Specialist (IA, NE, SD, UT)
(402) 327-5604
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Nebraska City, Nebraska,
28
April
2017

Planting for Our Future

A Tree Uprising

Baby Pine Tree

Trees are the lungs of the earth. Without them, we couldn’t survive. And our trees-our earth-are at risk.

Trees improve our air quality by removing pollution from the atmosphere and giving us clean, fresh air to breathe.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, more than half of all Americans depend on forest watersheds for drinking water.

Lake with trees on shorelineThe Blaze of Wildfires

Sadly, forest fires and infestation can take away many benefits trees provide to human and environmental health. Lightning and human activity are the top causes of forest fires. Insect infestation has reached epidemic levels in select forests, killing hundreds of thousands of trees.

Trees burning in wildfire

Trees after wildfire

In 2012 alone, more than 56,000 wildfires burned more than nine million acres of forestland across the country. That’s the size of Massachusetts AND New Jersey combined. In 2014, more than 63,000 forest fires across the nation destroyed nearly 3.6 million acres—slightly bigger than Connecticut.

Overlook view of trees after wildfire

Nebraska’s One Million Acre Forest

When you think of Nebraska, football and corn may come to mind. But trees should too.

Aerial view of trees

The Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands is a one million acre experience. Started in 1902, this is the largest hand-planted forest in the western U.S. and is primarily home to the Ponderosa Pine Tree. Ponderosa Pines are home to several species of wildlife, including America’s beloved bird, the Bald Eagle.

In 2006 and 2012, 50,000 trees were burned in forest fires caused by lightning in the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands. Burning the Bald Eagle’s and other animal’s habitats.

Painting of sheep

Black and white photo of burnt land and a deer standing in the middle

Burning mountain

A combined 86,000 acres were burned according to the Arbor Day Foundation. The damage was so bad natural regeneration is not possible, leaving reforestation in human hands.

Burning wild grass

Helicopter Dumping Buckets of Water on the Wildfire

Plane dumping fire retardant on forest fire

The Celebration of Arbor Day

Arbor Day originated 144 years ago by Nebraska pioneer J. Sterling Morton. It is an annual observance celebrating the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.

Whether trees provide a backyard swing for your children or a nesting place for diverse habitat, the future of trees is in jeopardy. Without aggressive replanting efforts there will be no seed source to reestablish this unique ecosystem. Replanting trees today will benefit generations to come.

The Future of Trees

The US Forest Service strives to replicate the natural diversity of trees through its plantings in forests nationwide. Like humans, trees need air to breathe and sunshine, water, and food to grow. Trees fight to stay alive just like humans do. Trees will adapt to change, but forests need to be replanted in order for the adaptation to occur.

Two Pictures - tree burning and new trees growing

New pine tree growing

State Farm® is doing their part. The insurance company, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, sponsored the replanting of 10,000 trees in the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands.

“We’re grateful to State Farm for becoming a steward of the Nebraska National Forest and Grasslands,” said Matt Harris, Arbor Day Foundation chief executive. “Our forests are part of the long and important legacy of the people and the land of our country. Thanks to State Farm’s commitment, thousands of trees will be planted to help clean the air, protect water resources, and restore habitat and beauty to forests that have suffered devastation.”

 

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Harris hopes others follow in State Farm’s footsteps. Take a stand with our trees. If interested in supporting the Arbor Day Foundation, donate today and share this story about the importance of trees with family and friends.

Arbor Day Foundation men holding a check from State Farm for $10,000.

Special thanks and photo credit to: Arbor Day Foundation; Bessey Nursery; Dan Morrow; Brad Brandt; US Forest Service; Cydney Janssen; Chris Fankhauser; Diane Clark, Jessica Espinoza, and Moni Hourt from Crawford Clipper; State Farm agents Randy Bauer and Bob Alcorn