Arbor Day is a national “plant a tree day” – a great follow-up to celebrating Earth Day. One of the easiest and best ways to make a difference to the planet is to plant a tree. Not only do trees help you breathe, clean the environment and provide shade, but they can also save you money! The Arbor Day Foundation, one of the country’s “greenest” organizations, encourages Americans to plant trees 365 days a year, but has set aside the last Friday in April to remind us all of the importance of replenishing the environment by planting a tree. There are several ways you can support the Arbor Day Foundation and make an impact on future generations.

Volunteer

It’s easy to find projects going on in your community. Access the Arbor Day Foundation website at www.arborday.org  and click the Programs link, then click the Volunteer Center link. Choose the “I’m a Volunteer” section and enter your zip code or city and state in the “Opportunities Near” section of the page to find a variety of projects going on near you. Volunteering is a great way to get involved, make new friends, and strengthen your community.

Become a member

It doesn’t cost much green to go green. You can obtain a six month Arbor Day Foundation membership for $10, or an annual member for $15. To thank you for your membership, you’ll receive 10 free trees to plant in your yard or in the yard of a friend or loved one.  They’ll provide you with a choice of trees that grow best in your area (based on the climate). Plus you get discounts when you purchase any trees, a guide to identifying trees, and a free subscription to Arbor Day (a gardener’s handbook). You can even purchase the membership as a gift.

Save some green

Planting trees around your home can help save money on cooling costs. Click on the “Trees” section of the Arbor Day Foundation website, select the “Benefits of Trees” link and then click the “How Trees Can Save Energy” link for helpful tips  on where to plant trees around your home to help you save money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy: Large leafy trees (deciduous) planted on the south and west sides of your home will keep your house cool in the summer and let the sun warm your home in the winter, reducing energy use. Studies have shown that planting just three trees in the proper places around your house can save up to 30% in energy usage. Trees or bushes planted next to air conditioners provide shade to the unit to help it cool your home more efficiently and use about 10% less electricity than the same unit operating in the sun.

A healthy tree-t

Trees can help reduce air pollution, prevent storm water runoff and lower noise levels. Additionally, trees planted along the streets of neighborhoods can help reduce runoff from excess water, preventing slushy mud and drowning your yard. They also help clean the air by sucking in the CO2 and providing oxygen in its place. Trees can help improve irrigation and prevent flooding by absorbing the excess water from your yard.

While we bask in their beauty, it’s easy for us to take for granted all the benefits that trees provide. Arbor Day is a great opportunity to plant a tree and reinvest in our planet, so put on your gardening gloves, grab a water bottle and head outside - let’s get to work.