Posts Tagged "trees"

The Great Tree Crisis | Social Media Saves the Planet

Dear Kid,

Have you heard about the Great Tree Crisis?

Sycamore High School decided to chop down 10 big sycamore trees near the track and HS Stadium.

So, without notice or explanation, they did.

You might think people would not notice. You’d be wrong. You might think students would not care. You would again be wrong. You might think the community would hope the school would do the right thing and ignore the situation. Once more, not so much.

There was a hue and cry. There was much ado about trees. There was social media impact. Classroom learning was disrupted by conversation about the trees. Parent shook their heads over the loss misuse of a teachable moment. Students ridiculed the notion that they couldn’t run on the track if there were leaves in the way.

I speak for the trees.--The Lorax. Students protest when High School cuts down 10 old Sycamore trees.

All of which led (several many days later) to this letter from the principal.

We have been hearing a number of concerns regarding the removal of the trees along the turf field and track facility next to the Gregory Center. We are hoping that this information can be helpful for those concerned so that they know this is a process and we are in the beginning stages of a transition in that area.  Hopefully these notes will help our stakeholders understand the rationale for this decision and future plans to address the area:

  1. The trees are being removed due to the current and potential damaging effects that they can have to the newer turf field and also the new track surface. Unfortunately, the maintenance of the turf facility and track require special equipment.  Removal of leaves and other debris from the trees can be difficult and potentially damaging to the facility.  In order to properly maintain and protect the recent investment of over $1,000,000 in this facility, we made the decision to remove the trees.
  2. The safety of our students running or dodging the debris prior to clean up was a continual and most pressing concern.  The students and athletes using the facility were constantly dealing with debris in their path and on playing surfaces for events.  Maintenance personnel were doing their best to remove it, but cannot be there at all hours of the day.
  3. We are planning appropriate plantings/vegetation to replace the trees.  We are looking at bushes and trees that would not spray debris onto the playing or running surfaces.  It will add value and character to the area without doing damage to the facility like the current trees.  The plantings will be completed in the Spring 2016.  We are also looking at adding Sycamore trees to other areas of campus where the debris will not affect our practice and game facilities.

As you are aware, these are all decisions that we make for the protection of our students and of our facilities.  We always strive to do what is best for our students and our district.  It is our hope that the community will trust that we will complete this process and continue to make these type of decisions in the future.  Our apologies for the disruption that the tree removal may have caused to you and or any emotional feelings surrounding the removal.

We will continue to try to make improvements to the campus to not only enhance the learning environment but to be fiscally responsible in maintaining the campus.

Doug Mader, Principal


This did exactly nothing to calm the situation. (And yes, I am silently correcting his grammar.)

So the Lorax and other tree people measured the diameter of the tree stumps (about 200 inches total) to hold the district (and by “district” I mean the school principal) accountable for replacing an equivalent amount of tree trunk. (Turns out, when you’re a public entity and you cut down trees, you have to replace them with an equivalent sum of tree diameters so that you don’t have too big an impact on the environment. It also turns out that not everyone trusts that the district will do this of their own volition. At least not in this decade.)

There will undoubtedly be more to the story.

Stay tuned.

And hug a tree.

Love, Mom

I speak for the trees.--The Lorax. Students protest when High School cuts down 10 old Sycamore trees.

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The Sky is Falling! (Emerald Ash Borer Infestation)

Dear Kid,

There are random tree limbs falling in our yard.

We have several ash trees and they are infested with the Emerald Ash Borer.

Apparently, this is potentially good news for woodpeckers (yum, another brunch tree opened!) and really bad news for everyone else. Especially the trees.

One of the signs of Advanced Borer-ness is parts of trees falling off at random times.

This is where I would have put a picture of an Emerald Ash Borer, but...ick. DearKidLoveMom.comMe: Do we have to worry about the tree falling down and crashing into the house?
Dad: Nope, just limbs fall off.
Me: Are there any limbs we have to worry about?
Dad: Just a few.
Me: That is not a comforting answer.

I decided to look up EAB (that’s how people in the know refer to the bug) and found that there are many sites devoted to the subject. After picking one at random I picked another one at random (just didn’t like the first one) and found several papers about EAB. One was titled Wood Options from Infested Trees (or something like that) and I thought that would be great information to read since we clearly have wood falling from the sky.

Turns out the paper was written by scientists who wanted to be “Published” and not by someone who cared about communicating with the public. I made it through 9 pages of preface (you can tell because the pages are numbered in itty bitty roman numerals), 11 pages of introduction, and 23 pages of the paper before I gave up.

My feeling is we should invite the woodpeckers for a final meal and then have a fire. (If anyone knows any reason why this would be bad, or any other good uses for EAB wood, now would be a good time to speak up.)

I also made a note to buy a hard hat for sitting in the back yard.

Love, Mom

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Sunday is a Good Day for Enjoying Life | The Porch, Squirrels, and Ash Trees

Dear Kid,

Sunday is a great day. Whether you are a church-on-Sunday person or not, it is a day for taking a deep breath. The newspaper (remind me to explain to you about newspapers) is full and designed to be read over several cups of coffee or tea (or some other beverage if you prefer).

Spring is a wonderful time! DearKidLoveMom.comAt this time of year, I particularly enjoy breakfast and the newspaper (and my beverage of choice for the day) out on porch. (When we first built the porch you were a wee bit of thing and referred to the room as the “forch.” This makes me smile.) While our grass is something of a hot mess, the birds are enjoying the birdfeeders (at least now that we put the right seed in the right feeder) and the plants are sprouting up cheerfully. It’s a nice place to be. Today it is my favorite room in the house.

Booker is out here with me and is happily enjoying the sun spots on the floor. He is also keeping a sharp eye out for invading cats. He is ready to jump—at a nanosecond’s notice—out of sun-induced sleepiness into full on I-am-an-entire-pack-of-large-angry-barking-dogs frenzy should the dreaded yellow cat appear.

There are two squirrels chasing each other through the trees. I have it on good authority that they are not juveniles playing a friendly game of tag.

Speaking of trees, it looks like the ash tree borer has bored our ash trees to death. Scientists are not sure where they get their lecture material but it appears to be much more toxic than anything you sat through this year. As of yet, we have no plan for taking down the dead-or-dying trees or for replacing them with something less ashy. Perhaps while you are home you might acquaint some of them with the sharp side of a saw?

It’s good to take a little time out every now and then to enjoy life. Hope you enjoy today.

Love, Mom


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