'Tag Team' Spotlights Importance of Urban Trees
Written by Erin Donley Marineau, Executive Director of Tree Davis
Did you know we have a forest in Davis, an “urban forest” to be exact? The many trees and their canopies collectively contribute a multitude of benefits—health, environmental and economic—to our city and the UC Davis campus.
To highlight the importance of our community’s urban forest, Tree Davis—a non-profit organization committed to expanding the city’s canopy—and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden have teamed up to strategically install educational tree tags across the Davis landscape. Acknowledging that the urban forest is contiguous across property boundaries and benefits home owners and students alike, the team selected trees that span Davis city limits and the UC Davis campus. These trees will be home to informational tags that invite passersby to engage in appreciation of the trees they encounter, learn about the benefits that the trees confer, deepen in their understanding of our region’s changing climate and come away with knowledge of the critical role that trees play in mitigating the intensifying impacts of climate change.
Using research and literature as the foundation for their messages, the tree tag team – including Tree Davis staff, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden staff, Learning by Leading™ student interns – seeks to make the essential, yet sometimes unseen, benefits of trees tangible to community members.
The tags placed on mature trees bring visibility to the existing benefits of Davis’ canopy in Nature Rx messages – which can be described as a prescription for spending time in nature in order to improve one’s physical and mental health. These include messages about the ways in which mature trees help clean the air, calm our minds, inspire us, soothe stress and boost our mood, prepare our minds for learning and help us heal.
Tree tags on young trees provide a future-oriented perspective, linking the public to contextual information about climate projections for Yolo County and the importance of transitioning our urban forest to a species palette that can help us all adapt to emerging climate conditions – ones that likely will include more intense heat and more frequent drought. These tree tags highlight the newest cohort of trees planted around town, focusing on “climate-ready” species that are part of Tree Davis’ Community Canopy program – an effort to plant 1,000 trees with low-water needs and heat tolerance across Davis city limits.
We invite you to keep an eye out for these tags around town and on campus! A map of the tags can be found here. Use your smart phone to follow the QR codes on the tags to choose your own adventure and learn even more about how trees have been essential to our community’s health in the past and present and the ways in which they will be even more important in the future.
Partial funding for this project came from Congregation Bet Haverim and Genentech. We are very grateful to our partners and sponsors for making this work possible. To learn more about ways to get involved with nature in our urban landscape, visit our websites: treedavis.org and arboretum.ucdavis.edu/
We hope to see you among the trees!