Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Tree At A Time

I love planting trees in my yard. Over the years, Robert and I have planted oaks and redbuds and maples and pecans, to name but a few. As we lower the rootball into its new home, it's always been easy to think that we're fulfilling our total obligation to maintaining and improving the urban forest.

And then I met Linda Goeringer.

When Linda noticed that the aging trees in her inner-city neighborhood were dying out, she took it upon herself to help remedy the situation.

Following a catastrophic ice storm that killed or damaged thousands of local trees, her city began giving away young trees to help restore the urban canopy. Linda got an idea. She stood in line at the tree giveaways, and planted her acquisitions along streetsides in her neighborhood.

But did she rest on her laurels after that? Absolutely not!

Linda can be seen regularly pulling a wagon of water down the street, heading off to tend to her young transplants. Three years have passed since her first tree went into the ground, and she's still providing them with TLC.

This past summer has been the most brutal in her state's history, resulting in the loss of one of her trees. But Linda remains undaunted. She plans to keep right on planting trees in her neighborhood.

Fifty years from now, I imagine people will walk and drive beneath the branches of Linda Goeringer's towering legacy...never wondering how the trees got there. Which makes me admire this big-hearted woman's commitment all the more.

And it makes me wonder just how much individual responsibility the rest of us feel we owe to the greater urban forests beyond our own yards.

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