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Yesterday was Arbor Day and May is Arbor Month. I hope you will celebrate by getting outside to enjoy trees and maybe even plant a few.

2016 Arbor Month celebrates the health benefits of trees

Trees help reduce skin cancer. They reduce stressful noises and keep the air clean. These are just a few of the many ways trees help people stay healthy. During Arbor Month, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges everyone to get their daily dose of trees.

“Trees are amazingly important to our health,” explains Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “Did you know childhood asthma rates are lower in urban neighborhoods that have more trees?”

This year’s Arbor Month theme, “Get your daily dose of trees for a healthy you and me,” focuses on the mental and physical health benefits of trees. An infographic poster produced by the DNR and endorsed by the Minnesota Department of Health showcases the many ways trees contribute to a healthy environment:

Reducing exposure to UV rays, the primary cause of skin cancer.
Reducing stressful noises by 50 percent.
Decreasing mental fatigue by relaxing and restoring the mind.
Reducing heat stroke and heat exhaustion by decreasing summer temperatures by up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Promoting healing by helping patients refocus their attention and increase their pain threshold.
A new two-minute video will help viewers young and old, understand the connections between trees and their health. Watch the video at the DNR Arbor Month website at www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth.

In May, the DNR is partnering with University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) to present a series of talks on the health benefits of trees and nature during the UMR Connects lecture series. A different topic is scheduled every Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in room 417 of University Square in Rochester. The lectures will also be broadcast live at http://tinyurl.com/je6zjkt. UMR Connects is free and open to the public.

Visit the DNR Arbor Month website www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth for more information on the health benefits of trees, to download a copy of the poster and watch the video.

Every year the DNR celebrates Arbor Day, the last Friday in April (April 29 this year) and Arbor Month, the entire month of May.

Arbor Day celebrations began in Nebraska in 1872. Nebraska, along with other Great Plains states, had almost no trees. Still, the region grew flourishing agricultural crops and the climate was suitable for growing trees. J. Sterling Morton believed Nebraska needed more trees. He sponsored a campaign for tree planting in Nebraska, setting aside April 10 for just that purpose. In 1876, Minnesota became the fourth state to adopt the tradition of celebrating Arbor Day. Today all 50 states observe Arbor Day on various dates. Minnesota celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April.

Since 1978, May has been Arbor Month in Minnesota. The warmer weather in May allows newly planted trees to get off to a good start. Plus celebrating the importance of trees is extended for an entire month.


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