Lewis Diuguid

Trees planted during Arbor Day to add new life, vitality to Crossroads

Parts of the Crossroads on Friday will receive 20 new trees from Bridging The Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance. It’s to help celebrate Friday as National Arbor Day.
Parts of the Crossroads on Friday will receive 20 new trees from Bridging The Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance. It’s to help celebrate Friday as National Arbor Day. The Kansas City Star

Some people love the planet more than others, and they don’t mind showing it.

On Friday a lot of folks will do exactly that to celebrate National Arbor Day. Long before climate change became a grave concern, America was recognizing National Arbor Day.

J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor, started Arbor Day on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, hoping that it would spread nationwide. He challenged the people of Nebraska to plant as many forest and fruit trees as possible. Surprisingly more than a million trees were planted in Nebraska that first Arbor Day.

By 1920, more than 45 states and territories were celebrating Arbor Day. Today, all 50 states and several countries participate.

On Friday in Kansas City, Bridging The Gap’s Heartland Tree Alliance program will plant 20 trees along Southwest Boulevard and Broadway in the Crossroads District. That will take place at 9 a.m.

It is being done with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department with funding from the Public Improvements Advisory Committee and a grant from the William T. Kemper Foundation.

Trees help offset the problems that human consumption of fossil fuels create. Carbon dioxide is produced from burning coal, oil and gas, which fuels energy production, heats and cools homes and businesses, drives industry and provides transportation.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce a clean, life-sustaining amount of oxygen in return. Rainforests in particular have been called the lungs of the Earth because they decrease the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which lessens the heat-trapping effect of greenhouse gases on the planet. Sadly, however, rainforests are being clear cut, and a lot of trees are being eliminated for housing and industries.

The effects of climate change are being felt worldwide with melting Arctic ice, rising sea levels, swamping coastal areas, droughts with spreading deserts, more wildfires, destroying more trees, and more destructive storms, harming and killing people and doing tremendous damage to property.

Bridging The Gap picked the Crossroads area for its Arbor Day focus because the popular art district during First Friday is “devoid of greenery, with large expanses of streets and asphalt surface parking lots,” a news release says.

“This contributes to the local heat island effect and an uncomfortable pedestrian experience during the warmer months,” the Bridging The Gap release said. Planting trees should green up the environment.

Kansas City has been called a city in a forest because of the area’s abundance of trees. But planting a few more especially in and around downtown could only make this community a better place to live.

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