ONE GENERATION PLANTS THE TREES,
AND ANOTHER GETS THE SHADE
-- Chinese Proverb
People appreciate trees and the reasons are probably in our genes. Research has shown that people heal faster and require less pain medication when they have views of trees and other vegetation.** Just three to five minutes spent looking at views dominated by trees, flowers, or water can begin to reduce anger, anxiety, and pain and to induce relaxation according to various studies of healthy people that measured physiological changes in blood pressure, muscle tension, or heart and brain electrical activity.*** These facts were intuitive to those associated with The William K. Warren Foundation, which may be because of William Kelly Warren’s legendary attention to detail; for example, in the form of his noticing a missing tree out of an area with hundreds of trees after having been away for over two months.
For these and other reasons, the Foundation started the Warren Tree Farm. Trees can be lost due to age, disease, development, and environmental conditions. So, if the community is to maintain and enlarge the urban forest that currently exists, tree planting must remain an enduring tradition in the Tulsa metropolitan area. The thousands of trees being grown in, and donated out of, the Warren Tree Farm are just a part of a larger effort to maintain and enlarge these important community assets that everyone can enjoy.
*U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2014
***Scientific American, 2012
For the people who lived through it, the ice storm of 2007 was an event they will never forget. Half a million homes and businesses remained without power for days in the biggest blackout in state history.* More than 20 deaths were blamed on the storm. And, as a lingering reminder, the remnants of broken and destroyed trees were visible everywhere for months. The beautiful urban forest that is such an indispensable community asset had taken a major hit. Just months before the ice storm, The William K. Warren Foundation planted almost 5,000 trees as it founded the Warren Tree Farm on some of its vacant land in southeast Tulsa.
*USA Today, 2007
Prior to the ice storm, Tulsa had been designated for 14 years in a row as “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Day Foundation.* Although almost everyone was adversely affected by the tree damage from the ice storm, the community did not give up. Thousands of trees have been re-planted in the community, and the damage is no longer visible.
The William K. Warren Foundation worked with other charitable organizations, including Up With Trees, to make a difference. Since the ice storm, 1,000 trees from the Warren Tree Farm have been planted in community parks, highway rights-of-way, schools, and hospital grounds. Although 100-year-old trees cannot be replaced, the trees coming from the Warren Tree Farm are substantial: the average tree has had a five-inch caliper and been over twenty feet tall. The tree types include oaks, maples, birch, and elm to name a few. The best part is that there are still several thousand trees to be donated from the original 2007 vintage year, and thousands more trees have been added in the 2013 vintage year. This means that future generations will enjoy trees like the ones gifted by prior generations.
*Now 21 years in a row, National Arbor Day Foundation, 2014