If you’ve ever wrapped your arms around a tree as far as they stretch (and then some), you’re already ahead of the game – having tapped into the magic of trees.
But if this idea makes you scoff in horror at the dreaminess of it all, please rest assured, you don’t have to morph into a hippie to benefit from nature.
It turns out that simply being around trees can reduce stress. What’s more, a recent study by Planet Ark has found that planting boosts the academic performance and wellbeing of children.
International expert, Dr Mardie Townsend from Deakin University, supports these findings, having researched the health benefits of interacting with nature. “Just 30 minutes of green time daily can level the playing field for children who aren’t naturally good at book learning by having a positive impact on their higher order cognitive skills,” Dr Townsend says.
“Doing nature-based activities can boost self-esteem for kids who struggle to learn the traditional way and natural settings can help restore kids’ ability to concentrate and reduce stress by providing a soothing atmosphere,” she says.
The benefits don’t end there, with tree planting playing a major role in the filtering of oxygen and provision of food and shelter for humans and animals. Planting seedlings with a purpose can also lead to the restoration of deforested areas, according to the United Nations Environmental Program.
Tomorrow marks the 17th year that National Tree Day has been celebrated, leading to the planting of over 17 million native trees and shrubs since the day was first organised by Planet Ark. A number of events will be held across the nation this year, to help Australians understand how tree planting can benefit wildlife, soil salinity, long-term carbon offsetting and human health.
This is a good reason to get out there and plant, an activity which can take place any day of the year, in the company of other Green Thumbs, or in the privacy of your own garden.
But before you pull out your shovel and put those arm muscles to good use, it’s important to note that planting local natives is best, because they’re most likely to thrive, providing a suitable home for wildlife in the area.
If planting trees is new to you, breathe easy, Planet Ark has this useful guide.
And should you wish to bring yourself one step closer to actually hugging trees, find out what more you can do by clicking here.