December 2019
"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts." —Rachel Carson
The National Holiday Tree
National community Christmas trees have been decorated on the ground of our nation's capital since 1923. Every December a tree is commemorated with a lighting ceremony by/with our current president. 

This outdoor tradition started with an engineer from General Electric (GE) in hopes to persuade Americans to buy more electric lights and therefore use more electric energy. The first national holiday tree was a 48-foot tall balsam fir donated by Middlebury College in Vermont. Throughout the years official received complaints and criticism for the use of cut trees. The ceremony of 1973 would be the first to plant the celebrated tree on white house grounds.

This year our decorated evergreen is a 30 feet tall blue spruce that was decorated and lit on December 5. Story source: NPS. Photo source: WTOP.
2020 Urban Tree of the Year
The Society of Municipal Arborist has chosen hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) as 2020's Urban Tree of the Year. This hardy tree has a wide native range, found throughout the Mid-Atlantic and west to Wyoming. This fast-growing species can withstand strong winds, drier and higher pH soils, and air pollution described as "one tough tree" by the Arbor Day Foundation. Hackberries thrive in a wide range of soil conditions. Congratulate this adaptable and resilient species by considering it during your winter tree plantings! Read all about the hackberry tree on the  Arbor Day Foundation website.
Cradle of Forestry
The Cradle of Forestry heritage Site has been called the birthplace of forestry and forestry education in America. In 1898 Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, founded the Biltmore Forest School and later designated the land into what is now called Pisgah National Forest. The original buildings, now a Heritage center, allows visitors to explore the past, present, and future of environmental sustainability and stewardship. Please read about the history of Western North Carolina's forest  here  and find out the best time to tour the interpretive trails, interactive exhibits, guided tours, nature programs, and more!
Two YouTubers partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to create a fundraiser challenge to fight deforestation. Their goal is to raise 20 million dollars ($1 = 1 tree planted) to plant 20 million trees by 1/1/2020. This cause has gained nationwide success and received generous donations by CEOs from organizations from Tesla to Twitter. Team Trees has already surpassed 19 million dollars in donations. C lick here  to help #TeamTrees reach their goal!
Dormant Trees Deserve Credit
Dormancy of trees involves many complex layers of activity, ranging from metabolic to physical processes. Environmental and physiological factors determine the pathway and timing of tree dormancy. Some trees will trap water in their cells in a liquid state and increase the number of solutes (minerals and hormones) to lower the freezing point of intracellular water. Other trees will excavate the cellular water into a neutral location where it can freeze without damaging the cells. Click here to read our recent blog post all about the preparation trees must do to survive the winter!
Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout
Philip Connors left for New Mexico with his typewriter in hand. He soon found himself above the trees in a fire watch tower in New Mexico’s Apache National Forest. He spent years in the epicenter of America wildfire, looking for something illustrious and new in observing nature. In his first-hand account, Fire Season, Connors combines his modern transcendentalist observations with tales of the Gila National Forest environmental history of the first government-designated reserve in the world.

Click here to purchase this book for your favorite nature lover just in time for the holidays!