Think globally, act locally for Arbor Day

Student Services President Matthew Moffitt assists in the planting of North Park Elementary School's donated tree. (Photo Courtesy of Traci Utz)
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Arbor Day is a holiday that promotes environmental awareness and stewardship, usually celebrated by planting new trees each year. Santa Clarita celebrates the day in conjunction with Earth Day on April 27.

There are a number of ways you can celebrate the environment and have a positive impact in the community for Arbor Day.

Local trash cleanup

One of the easiest ways to show an appreciation for nature and for the planet is to keep it looking beautiful. Litter can be a major problem throughout neighborhoods and public spaces. A quick walkthrough of your neighborhood to pick up trash is a great way to have a positive environmental impact, or why not go a step further and have a park cleanup and picnic day with friends and family. Be sure to sort the trash from recyclables.

Planting a tree is a fun and easy way to recognize the importance of the environment on Arbor Day. Courtesy photo

You can help by reducing the amount of trash created. Plastics, styrofoam and other non-biodegradable products may take a thousand years to break down and may never decompose at all, harming the environment and the animals that live there. Opting for eco-friendly options like paper straws and reusable bags is one way to help transition away from these harmful materials.

The Lorax

Dr. Seuss’ popular children’s book “The Lorax,” which was turned into a 2011 film starring Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift, is a fun way to help teach children the importance of trees and of environmental stewardship.

The internet is full of resources and activities to help reinforce some of the book’s lessons. “The Lorax” could make for a great day of family learning and a movie night. Nature documentaries also make for an inspiring way to teach children how to love the Earth.

Carpool!

Carbon emissions are a big contributor to pollution and climate change. Arbor Day is an opportunity to try walking, biking or carpooling.

For longer distances, public transportation like buses or the Metrolink trains are green options.

Shop at a local farmers market

Farmers markets provide a number of benefits over the produce section at a grocery store. Since all the food is grown locally, less energy and time is spent transporting the food, which helps cut down on the carbon footprint and helps ensure freshness.

Farmers markets allow a more personal connection with your food and the people who grow and sell it to you, thus supporting local farms and small businesses. Luckily Santa Clarita has two farmers markets, one on Saturdays on Main Street in Old Town Newhall and another every Sunday at College of the Canyons’ Valencia Campus.

Plant other native vegetation

Planting a tree might not be feasible for everyone due to space, finances or other resource constraints. Santa Clarita residents who still want to flex their green thumbs may instead want to try incorporating drought resistant or native California plants into their gardens.

Not only are lavender, lilacs and snap dragons hardy and beautiful flowering plants that can last up to 20 years, but they also attract bees and hummingbirds which help pollinate other plants.

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