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Celebrate the History of Our Nation's Trees

In this article from Parade, RJ Laverne tells readers about the history that trees represent and the stories they can tell.

By Julie Bawden-Davis

Posted: July 3, 2014 

If trees could talk, they’d have a lot to tell us about the history of our nation. Among the longest lived plants on the planet, trees represent our past, present and even our future.

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“Many trees have witnessed history and have the potential to see the achievements of future generations,” says R.J. Laverne, a board-certified master arborist at The Davey Tree Expert Company. “Trees chronicle the events of a region year after year. Their rings tell stories of droughts, floods and diseases,” he says. “They record evidence of lightning storms, heat waves, mild summers and bitter winters. With each layer of growth, they mark the passage of time and hold countless secrets within their trunks.”

Davey sponsors American Forests’ National Big Tree Program, founded in 1940 to feature big and often historic trees. The oldest national non-profit conservation organization in the country, American Forests protects and restores urban and rural forests.

“Some of the trees in the National Big Tree program are discovered by ambitious Big Tree Hunters who scour wilderness areas to find and measure them,” says Lea Sloan, vice president of communications for American Forests. “But many of these trees are in people’s backyards, farmyards, town commons or on street corners and have borne witness to the history of those places and generations of people for hundreds of years.”

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