If you’re anything like me, you think about trees even when you’re not at work. For many of us, the story is the same. You start being an arborist as a job but it quickly grows to a hobby, then a passion, now some may even call it an obsession. Our job revolves around trees- their present problems, their history, their predicted future. It’s pretty easy to incorporate your passion for trees into day-to-day life and your weekend/summer plans.
So what are some fun things to do this summer involving trees that is outside of tree work? Here are 10 activities to get you going--- and your friends and family may enjoy too!
1- Take a Vacation to See a Record TreeIf you live in the USA, you're just a plane ride or road trip away from seeing some of the world’s most impressive, record-breaking trees. Even if you’re not obsessed with trees like an arborist is, the Redwoods and Sequoias in California are a site to behold. Standing among such giants is an amazing experience and you can’t possibly imagine the size or height of them until you’ve met one in person. The biggest tree in the WORLD (by volume) is a giant sequoia found right in California in the Sequoia National Park. Its name is "General Sherman" and is about 52,500 cubic feet in volume. While in California, you can also see the world's tallest tree - the Hyperion, an 800 year old Redwood that’s nearly 400 feet tall.
If you travel internationally and want to see the oldest tree in the world, journey to Sweden. The Old Tjikko is a Norway Spruce that has been around for 9,550 years.
Here's a great article with facts, directions, and beautiful images for the trees listed above here: https://www.iliketowastemytime.com/2012/10/01/oldest-tallest-and-biggest-trees-in-world
2- Go For a Recreational ClimbThis may seem boring, as some of you climb every day for work, but this is a chance to get in a tree with no expectations, no job to do, no limbs to avoid, no direction you must go, and no saw or homeowners!! Now THAT’S what tree climbing is all about! You simply just get to enjoy working through a tree whichever way seems the most fun or relaxing to you.
3- VolunteerFind a cause and support it. Take even one day, one hour of your time and give back to the community you are a part of! We don’t have to tell you why this is an amazing idea! A local cause we’re excited to see expand in our own state is The ASM Foundation, a non profit that promotes the profession of arboriculture and urban forestry in the State of Michigan thru scholarships, preservation of history, and education.
You can check it out at https://asm-foundation.org/
4- Plant a TreeThis is huge. We can’t save every tree in our line of work, and sometimes home owners even ask us to cut down healthy, beautiful trees for their own personal reasons. Give back, plant a tree! Teach the younger generations the importance of trees while you do it! Add to your landscape and watch it evolve! Try out fruit trees, blossoming trees, research what’s best for your area and do your best to allow it to thrive!
If you'd like to receive 10 free trees to plant, you can sign up to be an Arbor Day Foundation Member and they’ll ship them right to you! Check it out at https://shop.arborday.org/content.aspx?page=memberships
5- Visit or Participate in a Climbing CompetitionAll over the world, people are competing in tree climbing. Check out the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) to see when and where these International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC) are held! You can attend and watch, offer to volunteer (which can be anything from judging to being a timer), or climb and compete! Men and Women divisions are scored on safety, speed, knowledge of gear and trees, climbing techniques, and more.
Not only is it a fun, athletic, and competitive way to switch up what you do every day--the knowledge you gain from just being there is unbelievable! If you’ve ever been to one of these “competitions,” you will know the atmosphere is more like a family. Everyone is cheering on their competition while also giving tips on how to get a better score, thing to avoid, and ways to improve. If you’re looking to be part of a community outside of your work place, look no further than the ISA!
Get involved at https://www.itcc-isa.com/
Get involved at https://www.itcc-isa.com/
6- Go to a Summer ConferenceWinter isn't the only time to focus on education. Sometimes the best thing to do in the heat of the moment (literally and figuratively) is to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing- What is it for? What is the reason? Why did you start on this path? These conferences are a great reminder and motivator of why you chose to be an arborist.
See what’s going on in the tree world at https://www.isa-arbor.com/
7- Hang in a Hammock, Swing from a Tree Swing. Be a Kid AgainWe just had to add this one in there because it’s fun, and what says summer more than a hammock or tree swing!? Maybe a rope swing over the water? Either way, allow the trees to be your playground, on the ground.
8- Visit an Arboretum or ConservatoryNeed I say more? Natural environments that are maintained by mankind is the perfect example of what we can do when working together. Arboretums and Conservatories are wonderful places to learn and expand your knowledge of rare plants from all over the world! They can also give you inspiration for you or your client’s yards if you also have a knack for landscaping.
If you want to see an example of nature transformed, then we highly encourage you to check out The Eden Project in the United Kingdom. They have a large visitor center nestled in a huge crater in the earth. Here, massive Biomes house the largest rainforest in captivity, stunning plants, exhibitions and stories. The rainforest serves as a backdrop to our striking contemporary gardens, summer concerts and exciting year-round family events.
Learn more at https://www.edenproject.com/
9- Take a HikeFind a local park or make a vacation of it. Take in the surroundings, practice your Tree ID, look for pests and diseases. Take the time to really be involved with the trees around you. Note how they grow where they are, try to see its history by markings or decay. Or simply just walk and enjoy the view!
10- "Ground" or Meditate in a Forest
Most of the time when we connect with the Earth,it’s loud, fast paced, chaotic. There are saws revving, limbs falling, chippers roaring. We have boots on, maybe even spikes or gloves. We’re IN the trees, but we’re not really connected with them. There’s a mental and physical barrier.
Meditation is simply a fancy way of saying- you rest your mind so you can consciously be in a different state of mind. It allows us to calm down and be in the present. Now let’s talk about Grounding. Simply put- go into the woods, take your shoes off, and stand on the Earth. This allows us to connect with the Earth’s natural energy by having our skin and body touch the ground. It’s said to help balance the body and be good for your health. That’s still in question.
What’s a proven science is that spending time in nature can be healing, healthy, and helpful. So the nest time you take a walk, kick off your shoes, stand under a tree, and clear your mind. You’ll reenter your day with a better frame of mind!
We hope at least 1 of these 10 Summer Tree ideas resonated with you! What one will you most likely fit into your Summer schedule? Do you have any additional ideas you want to share? Leave us a comment below!