Friday, October 21, 2016
Amsterdam, NY ,



Preserving our trees

Saturday, December 22, 2012 - Updated: 6:11 PM

Our Christmas trees have a long, and somewhat speculative, history. The early Christians told of the Garden of Eden with an evergreen tree hung with bright red apples. From then, the stories have evolved to today's trees decorated with ornaments and tinsel with a star or angel on the top. The early priest, Martin Luther, according to historical accounts, created a Christmas tree lighted with candles. Germany had been celebrating Christmas with trees in the middle of the 1500s and by the beginning of the 1600s they were found in almost every home. Some say that the tradition of the Christmas tree began with the Romans, went to Germany, and then to England. The use of the tree was brought to the United States by immigrants along with the added traditions of the distribution of presents and the sending of Christmas cards. And, we have had electrically lighted Christmas trees for some 130 years.

Thus, the tree has become part of our lives and beliefs, and it should never be underrated. Growing trees give us life, producing the life-supporting oxygen that we pump through our bodies each day. We could not live without oxygen. Have you thanked a tree today?

We give our attention to trees at Christmastime and, on occasion, at Arbor Day in the spring. Our state tree is the maple tree -- a good choice since it gives us so much shade, colored leaves, lumber, fuel and maple syrup, and the life-sustaining oxygen. We can only hope that global warming does not harm our big northeastern maple trees.

Many schools and communities celebrate our trees with the annual Arbor Day celebrations. It was not always the case. Arbor Day was not officially declared until 1888. It took some time to bring attention to the importance of celebrating our trees. School playgrounds were non-existing, in fact, our "conservation president," Teddy Roosevelt, called it to our attention in the early 1900s: "It is a poor type of school nowadays that has not a good playground attached."

The New York state Department of Public Instruction's annual Arbor Day publication of 1903 spelled it out: "Why not make an effort on the occasion of your Arbor Day exercises to start a movement for larger school grounds? It would not be too much to ask for a whole acre for your school. It would cost less than $50, an insignificant sum when the value of the ground to the school children is considered."

Beautifying was to follow: "The lot should be fenced in so that any improvements that the children make may be protected. The children should be involved and it is well to plant some trees and shrubbery. This is a work well worth undertaking." They were right and they gave detailed instructions on planting a tree.

Trees are, and always have been, a subject of discussion in Adirondack country. We have preserved our trees since 1885. There was a time when clear-cutting and over-harvesting of trees were marking the end of the forested Adirondacks as we know them. Erosion and devastation were reported and illustrated in the newspapers of that day. Fortunately, there were those who brought the destruction to a screeching halt. They created the New York state Forest Preserve and other limitations to ensure that the green canopy of upstate New York would remain.

I have heard that clear-cutting has again become an issue in Adirondack country. I do not know both sides of the issue so all I can say is woodman, spare that tree. Touch not a single bough; In youth it sheltered me, And I'll protect it now; 'Twas my forefather's hand That place it near the cot, There, woodman, let it stand, Thy axe shall harm it not." (George P. Morris, 1837.)

DON WILLIAMS was born and raised

in the Adirondacks. He is a retired

Gloversville school principal and magazine author. He lives in Gloversville.


Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Subscribe to The Recorder


The Recorder Sports Schedule

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Friday, October 21, 2016

    What's Happening
    Friday, October 14, 2016

    Arrests made in connection to welfare fraud
    Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    Police arrest suspect in armed NBT robbery
    Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    Kevin B. Cowles
    Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    B-P has one more regular season hurdle left
    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Siemens' reps propose $2.8M facilities improvement plan for Amsterdam
    Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    Miami Ave. reopens to local traffic
    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Francis W. 'Frankie' Pacillo
    Monday, October 17, 2016

    Fonda eyes state grant to improve pedestrian safety
    Saturday, October 15, 2016


Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us