Trees provide many comforts to animals and humans.
Photo from Metro Creative
Exploring Nature: Trees
Trees are one of man’s best friends.
Their leaves give shade in summer; their wood provides logs for heat in winter. The pulp of wood is turned into paper, such as that on which these words are printed.
The poet Joyce Kilmer famously wrote that a tree “may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair.” And certainly all sorts of wildlife depend on trees for food and shelter. As do we humans.
The United States is blessed by having about one thousand native species of trees, a remarkable treasure that helped make our country great.
The first exports of this country back to England from the Jamestown colony were mighty pines, which were perfect for ship masts.
Later, British shots fell back from the live oak sides of the frigate Constitution. That rock-hard wood gave the ship her famous name — Old Ironsides.
George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon was made of wood and he planted around it lots of now-mighty elms and tulip poplars.
Of course, Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin made of white oak and the rails he split were made of black walnut.
Every tree’s wood has its own particular characteristics. Ash is great for making baseball bats since it can easily absorb sudden shock. Many airplanes were made using lightweight Sitka spruce, and melodious violins are also crafted from spruce.
The wood that holds the graphite in a pencil is often eastern red cedar and the shingles on many roofs are western red cedar — the same kind of tree natives used to make totem poles in Alaska.
So be it big or be it small, here’s to the many contributions that tree wood makes to our lives. Hooray for trees! Hooray for wood!