“Since the beginning of the 20th century, the world’s forests have lost about 20% of their coverage. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, about 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) of forest are lost every year, and roughly half of Earth’s tropical forests have already been cleared.” The earthday.org website explains.

Earthadelic’s in-house horticulturist and Trees Knoxville board member, Preston Collins, gave great insight into how you can make a difference this Earth Day. We sat down with Preston to dive a little deeper into how specific tree species benefit humans, wildlife, and ultimately the environment.

Native tree species provide valuable ecosystem services to both humans and wildlife. Ecosystem services are the things that make human life possible such as providing food, pollination, and clean water (to name a few). Several species of trees are native to East Tennessee that you can incorporate into your landscape that are non-invasive and help benefit the environment. In our area, some species include quercus alba (white oak), ilex opaca (American holly), cornus florida (dogwood), and cercis canadensis (eastern redbud). Since many birds, insects, and animals depend on native tree species for sustenance and shelter, it is vital that they are considered in urban landscaping plans. When designing any type of landscape, Earthadelic’s designers always examine what will be best for the ecosystem first – using native species wherever and whenever possible.

Additionally, Earthadelic’s team receives continuing education on proper planting methods through our Earthadelic University courses, as well as volunteering with local groups such as Trees Knoxville and the Knoxville Reanimation Coalition with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Both of these organizations focus on the continuous improvement of the community.

Working toward improving Knoxville’s urban canopy is a focus of Trees Knoxville. A healthy and lush urban canopy is critical to help reduce pollution, provide shade, and improve the overall health of the community. Another focus is establishing certified arboretums at local schools in the area. Recently, Earthadelic worked with Trees Knoxville and 25 volunteers at West Valley Middle School to plant 8 trees! The group is working toward establishing a “Level 1 Arboretum” for the school as part of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council‘s Arboretum Certification Program. A “Level 1” Arboretum contains 30-59 distinct tree species labeled with the scientific name and common name.

There are so many small things that can be done to help the environment in a big way, so this Earth Day we urge you to consider how you can do your part. You can do this by working with companies like Earthadelic, which put the environment and native landscape first, or volunteering with local groups like Trees Knoxville to help make a difference in the community.

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