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I speak for the trees

I’m the Lorax who speaks for the trees 
Which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. 
But I’m also in charge of the Brown Bar-ba-loots
Who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits 
 And happily lived, eating Truffula Fruits. 

NOW…thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground, 
There’s not enough Truffula Fruit to go ‘round. 
And my poor Bar-ba-loots are getting the crummies 
Because they have gas, and no food in their tummies! 


Unless someone like you 
Cares a whole awful lot, 
Nothing is going to get better. 
It’s not. 

SO… "Catch!” calls the Once-ler. 
He lets something fall. 
It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all! 
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. 
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. 
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. 
Give it water. And feed it fresh air. 
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. 
Then the Lorax 
And all of his friends 
May come back.

-"The Lorax" by Dr. Suess

In the 1950s, Dutch Elm Disease moved through Wisconsin and killed a whole lot of trees. 

"The full death count will never be known. In one year alone, the City of Milwaukee lost more than 16,000 trees. And with the passing of the elms we lost a lot. Streets that had inviting canopies of green reverted to barren roadways." 

Today, Milwaukee is treating all Ash trees 8" in diameter and larger with medicine as they stagger tree replacement.

In November 2013, the Emerald Ash Borer was confirmed in Warner Park, on the north side of Madison.

In May 2014, Madison received an award from Tree City USA and the mayor symbolically planted six trees. 

“Madison is honored to be a Tree City USA for the last 25 years.  Being awarded the Sterling Community Award by the Tree City USA Foundation really shows our commitment to Madison’s urban forest.”
-Eric Knepp, Madison Assistant Parks Superintendent

Right Now, you can find red ribbons marking some of the Ash trees in the path of the Emerald Ash Borer within Tenney Park.

Like others, I love trees and, like others, cannot imagine what my neighborhood will look like after the trees have been clear cut. It's really hard to picture. Seven hundred and sixty seven trees in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood alone.

The trees are important for many reasons, including air quality, energy costs, and property values. Research has also proven the additional quality-of-life reason: Living near trees, and in urban areas mixed with more nature, makes people happier and healthier. In Japan, they have official Forest Therapy trails to combat their national issues with depression and cramped urban living.

At this point, we don't need special trails because we still live in an "urban forest." We just need to rescue more of the trees from the ax.

In my opinion, the City should allow private citizens to stand up for the trees and use their own money to give trees on their streets the medicine they need until the Emerald Ash Borer has passed through the region. There are local private tree care companies that guarantee the effectiveness of their medical intervention. 

I emailed the Mayor and I received an email response explaining that the City aims to save as many Ash trees as possible, forsaking only those that are below power lines, unhealthy, or less than 10" in diameter. They are removing 8,500 trees. 

The email explained that the City is not allowing some people to save some trees because that isn't fair to people who can't afford it. 

"We feel there is an equity issue throughout the city if terrace tree adoption was a part of the program; those who have the means versus those who do not have means to pay for the treatment."
-Office of the Mayor

So, I say, why not start an "Adopt-a-tree" program for street trees? I am baffled by those that adopt highways, but I certainly would adopt a tree since I don't have an Ash of my own. Right now, you are allowed to adopt an Ash in a park.

This weekend, the people who really speak for the trees, a group of women carrying red ribbons and yellow laminated signs, moved through Tenney Park to help educate people about the coming devastation. Many of the big shade trees in the park, including those that line Sherman, are Ash. I'm told it took some haggling to get the tags, provided by Community GroundWorks, allowed in the park. 

Now some of the trees are speaking for themselves.

If you want to speak on behalf of the trees, email these folks:

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