When the city of Melbourne, Australia, launched a project to improve maintenance of urban trees, the response was even more positive than predicted …
“Officials assigned the trees ID numbers and e-mail addresses in 2013 as part of a program designed to make it easier for citizens to report problems like dangerous branches,” reported Adrienne LaFrance of The Atlantic. “People did more than just report issues. They also wrote directly to the trees, which, by now, have received thousands of messages—everything from banal greetings and questions about current events to love letters and existential dilemmas.”
Treemail? From tree huggers?
Here is an example of an adoring ode, written in February, 2015:
Dear Algerian Oak,
Thank you for giving us oxygen.
Thank you for being so pretty.
I don’t know where I’d be without you to extract my carbon dioxide. (I would probably be in heaven.) Stay strong, stand tall amongst the crowd.
You are the gift that keeps on giving.
In addition to love letters from human admirers, Melbourne’s trees have received letters, like this spunky selection, from pen pals who claim to be trees themselves:
To: Oak, Tree ID 1070546
Just sayin how do.
My name is Quercus alba. Y’all can call me Al. I’m about 350 years old and live on a small farm in NE Mississippi, USA. I’m about 80 feet tall, with a trunk girth of about 16 feet. I don’t travel much (actually haven’t moved since I was an acorn). I just stand around and provide a perch for local birds and squirrels.
Have good day,
According to LaFrance, “The surprising thing in the case of e-mail-equipped trees, though, is that some of the people who have sent messages have received replies. Like [the following] correspondence between a student and a green leaf elm.”
29 May 2015
Dear Green Leaf Elm,
I hope you like living at St. Mary’s. Most of the time I like it too. I have exams coming up and I should be busy studying. You do not have exams because you are a tree. I don’t think that there is much more to talk about as we don’t have a lot in common, you being a tree and such. But I’m glad we’re in this together.
29 May 2015
I do like living here.
I hope you do well in your exams. Research has shown that nature can influence the way people learn in a positive way, so I hope I inspire your learning.
Green Leaf Elm, Tree ID 1022165
How can you stay in touch with trees here in the U.S.? Of course, you can hug them! You can also sign up to receive your own Tree-Mail, the e-newsletter of the National Forest Foundation, which includes stories, news, and tips about our National Forests.