Since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools.
Today, their value continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.
Trees are an important part of every community. Our streets, parks, playgrounds and backyards are lined with trees that create a peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment.
Trees increase our quality of life by bringing natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban settings.
We gather under the cool shade they provide during outdoor activities with family and friends.
Many neighborhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride.
Using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings.
The Therapy of Gardening
Healing Power of Gardening, Growing and Community
When rating gardening benefits, gardeners often note reductions in stress, tension and anxiety. Research proves this is more than a feeling.
One study had participants complete a psychologically stressful task and then measured cortisol, a hormone the body produces in response to stress. Periods of gardening or reading followed. While both groups showed lower levels of cortisol after these activities, the gardening group was significantly lower, indicating greater physical relief from acute stress. They also reported greater improvement in their moods.
Community gardens show great promise as effective extensions of therapy for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and drug or alcohol dependency, and even for children and adults faced with the typical stresses of modern urban life.
Working together, tending gardens and growing food, in particular, yield remarkable benefits. These include improvements in self-esteem, teamwork, social interaction, planning, problem solving and coping skills, as well as a passion for gardening and community that may continue throughout life.