Every year, National Tree Day is celebrated to highlight the importance of trees and raise awareness of the threats that we all face if trees are lost.
National Tree Day started in 1996 and has grown into Australia's largest community tree-planting and nature care event. Over 26 million trees have been planted by more than 5 million people. National Schools Tree Day is usually held at the end of July every year. Get your school involved by registering here.
Human relationship with trees
Trees release oxygen from their leaves which is essential to life on earth. But did you know that trees clean the air we breathe by absorbing harmful pollutants like nitrogen oxides, ammonia and sulfur dioxide? These pollutants can have negative impacts on the health of humans, animals and plants, so trees play a key part in keeping our earth’s living inhabitants healthy. In fact, trees can be thought of as the “earth’s lungs”.
Trees are also a crucial part of the earth’s water cycle as they add clean water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration. This moisture then rises up to form rain clouds, which release the water back onto the earth, which we then drink and use for washing and cooking. View the image below to understand how water travels through a plant and back into the water cycle.
Humans are biophilic, meaning we have a need to seek special connections with nature, especially trees and plants. Because of this, being in nature reduces stress and anxiety in humans, in addition to other health benefits. How do you feel after resting under a tree on a hot summer’s day, protected in the shade of its canopy? Do you have many trees around your home and school? Perhaps you have a favourite tree that you visit sometimes.
“Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees” is a famous Australian song you might have heard which expresses our love of the iconic gum tree. Click on the video below to enjoy the song in Auslan. Can you remember the signs for: tree, home, kangaroo?
Tree to tree
As you’ve learned, without trees, many animals would have nowhere to call home. A single tree can provide a home to many living things including mammals, reptiles, birds and smaller organisms such as insects, fungi and other plants. But did you know that some scientists think that trees “talk” to and trade nutrients with each other in their forest home? They do this underground via a series of networks with the nickname of the Wood Wide Web. This is why the loss of one tree has an effect on all other trees in the same area. Learn more about the amazing Wood Wide Web by watching the video below.