TOC Programs Manager Myles Ritchie has spent several months tromping all over the state to digitize and update TOC’s landmark Exceptional Tree map. Volunteers have helped in identifying these trees for Myles to map.
Up mountains, down into valleys, through jungles and open fields, Myles has been a stalwart in identifying and mapping these wonderful trees statewide.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that while the map is a great guide for all of us who want to admire these treasures, Myles' work is much more than pins stuck on a map.
What he is doing for each of these over 700 trees is to scientifically formulate the value—the worth, the benefits—to all of us. These benefits include: financial savings, storm water runoff diversion, energy conserved, and the reduction in atmospheric carbon. Pinpointing the benefits of these trees provides a basis for each of us to realize the worth of all trees, even those that grow in our own yards.
As an example, trees offset the heat island effect by reducing the average temperature under a tree canopy by 5-10 degrees. Apply that to your yard and you realize your own trees are probably keeping your house cooler. Even if your house is air conditioned, your trees still mean less strain on the AC.
And next time you are cruising around in your air-conditioned car, consider that a tree canopy over the road reduces the surface temperature by 35 degrees. Saves tremendously on tires. And roads don’t get as beat up.
Stay tuned as we put together a video showcasing Myles' recent statewide effort.
The Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.