Environmental Protection

Climate Appreciation

Last night, I walked around my neighborhood. The air was cool because the high temperature had only been 81 degrees, there was total cloud coverage most of the day, and some homes were graced by rainfall.

You're thinking: Big deal, right? It is a big deal because the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex experienced 22 days of triple-digit heat between July 31 and Aug. 23, with only one day of relief (96 degrees) on Aug. 18. With temperatures between 100 and 107, the neighborhood "feel" was reminiscent of 9/11 when everyone was inside glued to their TV screens. Really, many people in Dallas-area suburbs don't go outside. It's simply too hot and high temperatures often mean poor air quality alerts.

Yesterday, the 81-degree temperature woke up the dragonflies and cicadas. The sidewalks were busy with dog walkers, fitness walkers, and moms with strollers while peewee football players practiced in the park. I was only strolling and enjoyed looking at all the great trees. The trees "convinced" me to buy a home in this neighborhood. They have provided relief from the sun as my children walk home from their bus stop.

When I think about it, I seek out trees outside my neighborhood, too. In parking lots, I look for spaces by trees so the car will be shaded and I will be able to touch the steering wheel when I return (so does everyone else). I really don't enjoy spending money at establishments that don't have trees.

But I'm encouraged by some of the changes I have seen over the years. NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, has more than 50 documents on its Website that reference trees and their value. I also have witnessed property developers uprooting trees and caring for them until they can be replanted onsite.

Palm trees in foster care

Darrell Turner of Turner Tree and Landscape, Bradenton, Fla., provides perspective on the size of the palm trees in his care.

Darrell Turner, owner of Turner Tree and Landscape of Bradenton, Fla., has made foster care for trees part of his business. But he doesn't do it for the money. "Rather than bulldoze them, or destroy them and put them in a landfill, we maintain them," he said. "We don't make any money doing it. We do it because it's the right thing to do."

Turner has transplanted rescued palm trees on his Ellenton tree farm. The trees were part of the Sarasota Quay office building that was demolished in 2007. Several are now 55- to 60 feet tall.

According to a recent press release from Turner, in 2000 his company fostered about 100 trees, valued at more than $400,000, from the current Ritz-Carlton location while it was being built, maintaining the trees for about 30 months. "Not only did we preserve more than 100 trees that were each 60 to 80 years old; we also saved the developer over $200,000 in actual added value to the project," he said.

Seems to me that trees make sense on a lot of levels.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Aug 26, 2010 at 12:43 PM


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