Do free Earth Day seedlings stand a chance?

ThImageousands of trees are being distributed across the US in celebration of Earth Day. But how well thought out is this green gift? Is this a well-intentioned but empty gesture?

Sunday, my daughter and I went to a near-by aquarium where volunteers were dispensing seedlings of native trees to visitors. Great idea – but trees are living things. When I see them being given to random passersby, I have to wonder if anyone considered the responsibility of caring for this gift of nature.

Trees are sentient. They grow, hibernate, get diseases and need the appropriate nutrients to survive. Trees are our true life partners. They give our shelter and medicine … and breathable air.

While it’s a very simple way to make a big impression; I’m not entirely sure that it works.

  • Seedlings can only survive a limited time in a little bag.
  • Transporting them in handbags and backpacks can damage them.
  • You need the right conditions to plant them in (type of soil, light, protection from wind).
  • Planting a seedling in the garden may seem like a great idea – but what effect will the growing tree have on the infrastructure of the house? (underwater pipes, septic tank, foundation)

If you or someone you know would really like to plant a tree in honor of Earth Day or Arbor Day, why not learn from the best? The Virginia Department of Forestry has a great guide to planting.

Giving everyone the opportunity to participate in restoring native woodland is an excellent idea. But it’s PR – not environmentally sound PR. Why not have planting stations in local parks or other good locations? That way you can ensure that the tree you plant will be in the right place and well cared for. Visit a managed forest and see the natural beauty and symmetry of a sustainable woodland area. How about going to a field with a packet of wildflower seeds? Wildflowers add beauty, become part of the local ecosystem faster, and offer food and shelter to the indigenous wildlife.

Make your Earth Day contribution count …


About Monica Boehringer PR

public relations professional with 15+ years experience delivering results on contentious and environmental issues for government and nonprofit organizations, counsel to senior management and community engagement.
This entry was posted in climate change, trees, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do free Earth Day seedlings stand a chance?

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