This holiday season, what is a gift that will bring your friends and family together while doing some good for our National Forests? Giving the gift of trees! Whether it is planting trees to honor your outdoor loving best friend or finally that perfect gift for your not-so-easy-to-shop-for brother, leave the gift-giving anxiety behind and give the gift of trees. Here are five reasons why tree planting is the perfect gift this holiday season:
1. Trees help us breathe
In one year, an acre of healthy, mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people. Trees also improve air quality by filtering the air of pollutants. According to a study coauthored by the USDA Forest Service, forests across the continental US removed 17.4 million tons of air pollution in 2010, yielding a human health value of $6.8 billion. This includes the prevention of 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms and more than 850 deaths. So yes, a gift of trees may also save lives!
2. Trees for our shared future
More than just sucking up pollutants from the air, by removing carbon dioxide (CO2), our forests also play a major role in limiting global climate change. In 2011, forests in the continental US offset approximately 16% of total US CO2 emissions. At $1 per tree, giving the gift of trees is one small thing you can do to present your loved ones with a gift that will help ensure that future generations – your kids and grandkids – will have an Earth that resembles the one we know today.
3. Most Americans have a connection to our National Forests, even if they don't know it yet
Seven in ten Americans live within a two hour drive of a National Forest and more than 160 million people visit our forests annually. Our forests are the largest source of municipal water in the US, supplying fresh drinking water to an estimated 123 million Americans in thousands of communities and major cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta. These facts makes it all the more likely that many of your loved ones are already connected to a National Forest near them.
4. Trees bring us together
Let’s face it, it’s been a challenging and polarizing year for many Americans. Planting trees on our National Forests can be the gift that sparks positive conversation and brings your friends and family together. Our forests benefit all Americans and tree planting is a great way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you. Whether you plant in honor of your uncle who loves to camp or your niece who spends every free minute hiking and fishing, the gift of trees for our forests can be something special for everyone on your list.
5. Whatever your loved ones' interests, planting trees on our National Forests benefits those too
Are your friends passionate about public lands or do they just love getting outdoors? Are your parents fascinated by wildlife? Do you have hunters and anglers on your list? Tree planting may not yet be at the top of everyone’s list, but we can bet it will have a positive effect on some of their favorite activities.
Tree planting enhances recreational experience for National Forest visitors while supporting local recreation and tourism industries. Reforestation restores habitat for wildlife, including the more than 400 federally threatened and endangered species that call our forests home. Planting trees improves water quality and fish habitat by filtering harmful substances from storm water, halting soil erosion, and cooling water temperatures.
Every $1 donated will plant one tree on a National Forest in need of reforestation. All recipients of gifts between $25 and $99 will receive an email notification and an annual subscription to our magazine. Recipients of gifts over $100 can receive a notification via USPS.
Please note that donors cannot designate where trees will be planted. We work with the Forest Service to select planting sites on our 193-million-acre National Forest System where the ecological need is greatest. Project locations vary from year to year, adjusting to need. Many of our plantings occur in the Western U.S. where wildfires are driving reforestation need, but we plant in all regions, responding to where trees are needed most.