Cedrik von Briel
When’s the last time you haven’t seen a tree? It sounds like a stupid question, but in reality, it really is! Trees have become such a normal part of our life that even a 360 around your current area picks up at least one form of tree or plant – even if it is just an artwork. But why? Trees are an important part of life for not only humans but all sorts of creatures that the universe forces us to live with. For starters – as anyone who took Advanced Placement [AP] Biology this year would know – trees provide crucial oxygen for us all to breathe, without which there would be no more us. Trees also provide shade when the days get hot (year-round now, it looks like) and a bright green scene when they get dark and lonely. Sure, they provide all those benefits, but why should you pay more attention to them?
Well, for starters, they’re pretty cool. The oldest trees are over 6,000 years old, and any given tree that you see could very well be older than 100. They can also hold a ton of history. The oldest Laurel tree in California is along Sawyer Camp Trail near Crystal Springs Reservoir. A descendant of Newton’s apple tree is said to be somewhere on Stanford University’s campus. Most of all, however, is how much biodiversity can be in one single tree. Woodpeckers, snails, owls, ivies, beetles, squirrels, and creepers all call trees home. Trees also are essential to those you might not often associate them with. Did you know that a few species of ducks and seabirds breed in trees? Yup. What’s also cool is that when the chicks have all grown up, they must dare themselves to jump 100 feet down to the ground just to get to the water. Talk about a leap of faith!
Finally, we Californians are blessed to feature the tallest trees in the world, the Coast Redwood, right in our backyard! With so much diversity and fun about our trunked neighbors, perhaps it’s time you paid attention to them more often this winter break, acknowledged their presence, and become fascinated by what they have to offer.