Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Chesuncook," The Maine Woods, 1848
Growing up in Maine, trees have always been a part of my life. When I was a child, I spent serene days with my grandparents at their camp in the North Woods, not far from the area explored by Thoreau over a hundred years earlier. There, forest engulfed the camp, with just a small clearing for the two room camp, outhouse, woodpile, boat and a shed. We collected balsam tips to make sweet smelling pillows and birch bark from fallen birch for crafts. We gathered nuts and pine cones.
My siblings and I played with the stray logs floating in the lake, using them for forts and rafts. In those days, rivers were still used to run the logs to the paper mills. In the fall, I'd lie on the ground looking up at the light dancing through the Autumn leaves. The blue sky was barely visible through the leaf canopy. We saw moose, bear, deer, raccoons and loons in that wild place. Still, logging trucks roared by the camp on the dirt road, cutting into the otherwise perfectly quiet world. Even in Maine's working forest, it was a still a wild place where one could get a taste of what Henry David Thoreau saw when he visited the area.
Maine is a land of trees. As more and more development comes to Maine, it is up to each one of us preserve the trees of our Pine Tree State. All over Maine, from the developed areas to the North Woods, we Mainers love trees. I urge you to visit a new online community for those of us in Maine and around the country who cherish, protect, and plant trees.
The Maine Grove is part of The Grove, a website and online community created to engage and encourage Mainers to plant trees to protect the tree canopy. The Maine Forest Service and the Project Canopy Leadership Team sponsor the Maine Grove. Together, families and communities can increase Maine's tree canopy. Every tree in every community contributes to a healthy tree canopy for our great state of Maine.
So, what can you do in The Maine Grove? You can let people in Maine and around the world know about the trees you've planted. Share photos and the personal meaning those trees hold for you. Impart your own gardening wisdom and discuss a sustainable, green future. Through the Maine Grove site, you can set up a profile, post photos, musings about your own 'grove' and learn about opportunities to create change in your local community.
In addition, The Grove is a valuable resource. Certified arborists and staff members from the state and national forestry agencies are available to answer questions. You can also get twitter updates from The Grove on Twitter (@PlantYourLegacy).
Do visit the Maine Grove at www.americangrove.org/me, take a 'virtual' walk through a variety of Maine's woods and share your grove with the world. Michele's state of Oregon has a chapter too, so all you Oregonians out there can visit www.americangrove.org/or. Not from Maine or Oregon? Check out http://www.americangrove.org/ to see if your state has a chapter.
An old Chinese proverb states, "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today." To all who value our trees and forests, the time is now. Together we'll create a more sustainable future.