OK, this isn't Earth-breaking news.
Well, it sort of is, considering this is the time of year when the Arbor Day Foundation encourages people to break up little plots of Earth and plant more trees.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, has come up with an incentive-laden program to encourage more tree-planting at four Ohio state parks, Cowan Lake, Hueston Woods, Stonelick, and Portage Lakes.
Plant a mature sapling 5 feet or taller at one of those parks and you'll receive two free nights of camping during the 2014 season at the Ohio state park of your choice.
Plant multiple trees, and you'll receive multiple free nights of camping, two for each tree.
Like I said, it's not a huge deal - yet it's a kinda neat program, if you think about it.
It saves the state of Ohio a little cash getting some new trees in the ground to replace vast stands of ash trees devastated by the emerald ash borer, as well as some other tree species.
It also gives those who choose to participate something tangible in exchange for their generous donations of time and money, while also creating an incentive for them to get back to nature with two free nights under the stars.
Park staff and volunteers will assist with the plantings, the key word being "assist." Those making the donation are expected to help plant their trees.
But it's a start.
To participate, make arrangements directly with one of those four state parks. Here are the phone numbers: Cowan Lake, 513-897-3055; Hueston Woods, 513-523-6347; Portage Lakes, 330-644-2220, and Stonelick, 513-734-4323.
It's important to call in advance not only to work out logistics but also to see which native tree species are most needed at each of those parks. Red maple, red oak, burr oak, yellow poplar and beech are the leading candidates.
A red maple. Photo credit: arborday.org
Most of the plantings are scheduled on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a day after Ohio recognizes Arbor Day.
Perhaps it's a bit ironic that Arbor Day - a 129-year-old event that celebrates tall trees and is held on different dates each year - lives in the shadows of its 44-year-old cousin, Earth Day, which is always April 22.
For the Great Lakes region, Arbor Day is the last Friday of every April. This year, that's April 25.
The celebration dates are based largely around the planting season for each state. Go here http://www.arborday.org/states/ and click on the map to find out when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state.
There's a Great Lakes connection to Arbor Day's founding.
The event was created by a former Detroiter, J. Sterling Morton.
When he and his wife, both nature lovers, decided to become westward pioneers, they settled in the Nebraska Territory in 1854 - but were dismayed by the lack of trees there.
The state now known as Nebraska was, at the time, a treeless plain.
"There is no aristocracy in trees," Mr. Morton once said. "They are not haughty. They will thrive near the humblest cabin just as well as they will in the shadow of a king's palace. There is a true triumph in the unswerving integrity and genuine democracy of trees."
Mr. Morton founded Arbor Day on April 22, 1885, to promote tree-planting.
States have observed the event in various ways ever since.
It has been observed nationally for years on the last Friday of April.
Among the many other events being planned in the Great Lakes region in conjunction with Arbor Day this year - events that don't get a lot of media exposure, because they aren't, you know, Earth-shaking news - is one in Monroe.
Some 2,000 native white cedar seedlings are to be planted on the grounds of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park on April 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“From Hocking Hills to Salt Fork, Ohio’s parks are some of the best places the Buckeye State has to offer. The last place we should be fracking is in our state parks and forests,” Christian Adams, the group's state associate, said.
“We welcome Governor Kasich’s change on heart on this issue, and urge him to protect Ohioans by declaring a moratorium on dirty drilling in our state parks and forests,” he said.
The industry's chief lobbying group in Ohio, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, maintains fracking can be done safely and with minimal impact to the environment.
An international agency that represents the industry has implored oil and gas companies not to take shortcuts, pointing out that the industry's reputation and potential for more development is at stake.
Ice Ice Baby.
Meeting President Obama in 2010. Credit: Pete Souza/White House
The award also gave Henning the opportunity to deliver a Earth Day speech in 2010 on the Washington Mall in front of 200,000 spectators.
Truth is, Henning became a figure on the national level before her job with SRAP began in January.
She's traveled the country giving speeches and has helped promote books and movies that probe the issue of land use, water use, farming ethics, and animal welfare - activity that hadn't even entered her mind while tending to her and her husband's corn and soybean farms.
Henning is like Lois Gibbs, North America's first Goldman Prize recipient in 1990: A housewife whose life was upended by others.
Gibbs is the former Niagara Falls housewife-turned-activist who spearheaded the landmark Love Canal investigation into toxic dumping by Hooker Chemical in upstate New York in the late 1970s, spurring federal community right-to-know laws and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund emergency cleanup program.
Michigan environmental regulators were at first skeptical of pollution issues Henning raised.
Eventually, they came around and took Vreba-Hoff to court with help from the Michigan attorney general's office.
The recognition vindicated Henning and her husband, who used to find dead possums and skunks stuffed in their mailbox.
Someone once blew up their mailbox.
Hate mail and phone calls with foul language were common. So was the creepy experience of being followed on quiet country roads in southeast Michigan — something that happened frequently enough that Ms. Henning began telling her local sheriff's office when she would be out.
Henning said she will continue to do volunteer work for the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club.
She also remains on the board of directors of the nonprofit advocacy group Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan — to which she donated some of her Goldman prize money. Other recipients, she said, are the Michigan Sierra Club, and the National Sierra Club Water Sentinels.
"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
- Henry David Thoreau
About Ripple Effect
Every pollution battle ultimately comes down to mankind's desire to better itself while protecting its sense of home. In this blog, Blade Staff Writer Tom Henry looks at how Great Lakes energy-environmental issues have a ripple effect on our public health, our natural resources, our economy, our psychological well-being, and our homespun pride.
About Tom Henry
Tom Henry is an award-winning journalist who has covered primarily energy and environmental issues the past two decades. He is a member of the national Society of Environmental Journalists, one of North America's largest journalism groups.
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