Spring is here, summer is coming and it feels so good to be outside again, especially after being cooped up for so long due to the pandemic. In fact, I recommend you take 15 minutes of “me-time” and just go outside and spend time in the yard or a local park.
Those 15 minutes outside in nature will lower your heart rate, help your body create Vitamin D, brighten your mood, improve your concentration and memory, and make you feel happier and psychologically restored.
Trees are so valuable and are the “backbone” of our ecosystems and yards while providing nature’s most elegant and abundant carbon capturing technology: photosynthesis. Trees capture and store carbon dioxide in their large, woody biomass, or in their leaves, stems, trunks, branches, and roots. A mature tree in your yard is already storing about 5,000 pounds of carbon and will continue to store about 50 pounds more each year.
The value of trees to capture carbon is of utter importance as the Earth is warming at an alarming rate from all of the excess carbon in the atmosphere. To help tackle this climate emergency, we need to start setting aside 30% of America’s land (and water) for conservation. Right now, we are 12%. Where will the remaining 18% come from? Well, a portion of that can come from your yard. Your land is valuable!
If you set aside 30% of your yard to conservation and replace just 30% of your lawn with trees, for example, you will not only be helping to battle climate change, but you will be contributing to America’s “Homegrown National Park;” a popular and growing movement coined by the author and scientist, Doug Tallamy.
Thirty percent conservation will not happen overnight, and I hope this does not overwhelm you, but instead inspires you to come up with a game plan for rewilding and reforesting your yard.
I love when homeowners can grow their yard value while helping the surrounding environment, especially by the planting of native trees. I am starting to see more and more residents transition their yards from a mowed lawn (that emits carbon) to a yard full of meadows and trees (that captures carbon). Your yard is so valuable and it’s a place where you can be part of the solution to address climate change, as well as address your own need for a stress-reduced, nature-provided mental restoration.
Now please don’t forget to enjoy your 15-minute nature break!
Amanda Bayley is the CEO & Co-Founder of Plan it Wild, a sustainable land management company that is bringing back native habitats to Westchester yards and commercial spaces. More Nature. Now. www.PLANitWILD.com