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With autumn here, let’s celebrate the many benefits of our trees

Fall is a time to engage the senses, breathe the crisp air, and enjoy the beauty of colorful leaves in the presence of friends and family. The striking reds, oranges, and yellows draw our attention to the trees all around us, but their presence benefits us year-round.

Monarch Landing’s scenic 60-acre campus is laden with trees as well as pollinator gardens and an array of habitat that is home to Monarch Butterflies in the warmer months. Recently, a resident took his neighbors on a tour of the the trees and foliage on the beautiful campus.

Nearby are idyllic public lands like Blackwell Forest Preserve and McDowell Grove Forest Preserve that are part of the award-winning Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. And a little farther afield is one of the nation’s seminal collections of trees and gardens, the Morton Arboretum.

Trees benefit people of all ages everywhere. The Arboretum cites studies that show the benefits of trees to health, pollution reduction, physical activity, mental health, and even social ties and the economy. The Arbor Day Foundation states that people who live in greener communities are three times more likely to be physically active than those living in less green settings.

Anyone who’s cooled off under a sprawling tree on a hot summer day knows that shade is one of the reasons trees are so important. Shade reduces energy costs and the heat island effect that impacts so many urban areas. In the end, it encourages people to get outdoors by providing a respite during heat waves.

Much like meditation and mindfulness, being around trees offers release from stress and decreases anxiety. Being outside is refreshing for the mind and the body, leading to increased exercise and enhanced well-being. Even in winter, trees make a difference, providing shelter for wildlife and reducing the erosion that comes with spring flooding.

Henry David Thoreau said “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” Anyone who’s enjoyed a hike through a forest in autumn might just say the same thing.