June 6, 2016
The terrific tree
Sharing your world with wildlife
When the heat builds up this summer, turn to a tree! Find a nice leafy tree in your neighborhood or park to rest under. Sit quietly and observe other animals taking advantage of all the tree has to offer.
Watch for birds flying in and out of the tree's branches, some carrying nesting materials or food for babies. Squirrels may leap from limb to limb looking for tasty seeds or buds. And if you look closely, you'll likely see tiny animals visiting the tree, such as an inchworm making his way up the trunk in search of a yummy leaf to munch on.
Trees are important to our planet. They help the environment by putting oxygen back into the air for people and other animals to breathe. Their roots keep rich topsoil from washing away.
Even dead trees are important to the environment. Birds, squirrels, bats and raccoons make nests in hollow trees. If you hear a rat-a-tat-tat sound, it may mean a woodpecker has moved in and is using his strong beak to find insects in the tree.
Logs that have fallen to the ground become home to insects and a place for squirrels and other wildlife to store food. And as the logs decay, they provide nourishment for more plants and trees to grow.
The Earth wouldn't be the same without trees. If it's possible to plant a tree where you live, visit a local nursery (plant store). Ask for advice on the perfect native tree for your area. Then start planting!