National Wildlife Week (NWW) is a week-long celebration of wildlife and the outdoors that aims to connect people with nature, foster awareness of the natural world and inspire stewardship throughout the year. The National Wildlife Federation and partner organizations are planning events and activities for individuals, families, and groups for all ages, locations and backgrounds.
This year, in celebration of its 75th Anniversary, National Wildlife Week celebrates Trees and Wildlife. Trees are a critical resource for wildlife and humans alike. During the week students, families and individuals will learn more about trees and how they can work together to replant trees that support wildlife in their communities.
Trees improve water quality and can slow the runoff of rain water, absorbing water through their roots and filtering water through their tissues. The roots of trees stabilize the soil, helping to prevent erosion. They provide shade and shelter, keeping houses and buildings cool in the summer, but letting in light in the winter, helping to conserve energy. A tree’s leafy canopy catches precipitation before it reaches the ground, allowing some of it to gently drip and the rest to evaporate. Trees can lower the air temperature and humidity by evaporating water in their leaves and can also act as wind breaks.
Trees add value to communities. The value of homes near trees is 9 to 15% higher than homes without. Research has even shown that people are more likely to linger longer and pay more for goods and services along a shaded avenue. Neighborhoods with lots of greenery have fewer crimes than those without any trees. A belt of trees next to a highway can cut highway noise dramatically. Trees also have a relaxing effect on people, reducing stress and imparting a sense of well-being.
Trees create valuable habitat for wildlife and other plants wherever they occur. They provide oxygen, shelter, nesting places, food, water, resting places and hiding places for predators and prey. Birds use trees as places to roost and find shelter, sources of food, and places to raise their young. Mammals may make dens in trees or under trees, use tree branches for making their homes (like beaver), and use trees as places to hide and as sources of food–eating leaves, shoots, berries, bark or insects living in a tree. Amphibians (like tree frogs), reptiles and even aquatic animals also depend on trees for habitat (like fish in a mangrove swamp), to keep the banks of streams stable and for clean water. And insects and other invertebrates find food, shelter, cover and places to raise their young in trees. Trees benefit wildlife at all stages of their lifecycle, even after they have died.
For more information on how to participate or donate please visit The National Wildlife Federation website.
Make every day a happy bird day!