A Word from our Summer ’17 Intern
This summer I had the opportunity to intern with TreeBaltimore, helping start the #myfavoritetree map, a StoryMap for their website of trees special to city residents. TreeBaltimore started its Notable Tree program in 1990, which aimed to highlight and share our city’s biggest, historic, and otherwise notable trees. This summer we made two trips measuring new City and State Champion trees with the Maryland Big Tree Program. We will continue to celebrate our city’s notable trees, but this summer we are also aiming to celebrate any tree loved by any city resident for any reason on our website with the #myfavoritetree StoryMap.
Trees provide us with invaluable health and ecosystem services. They keep the air cool, absorb pollutants, prevent flooding, and provide homes to wildlife. Trees are also part of the backdrop of our lives, and can be in our daily routines or appear in the memories of life-changing moments. With lifespans crossing generations, trees can connect us to the past and the future. The #myfavoritetree map aims to provide a digital platform for residents to celebrate their favorite tree for any of these reasons or more, where people can share stories and descriptions about their favorite trees and see those of others.
Do you have a favorite tree? One of mine is an oak tree in front of my apartment. It’s not huge, but it shades the surrounding concrete, and keeps me cool when I take my dog outside.The tree is at its best during a summer storm, when its leaves rustle and blow in the wind and you can hear the rain hitting its leaves.
This summer I got to travel throughout the city, visiting folks at parks and forests and hearing why a certain tree was their favorite. Everyone seemed to have different reasons, and it was cool to see all of the ways that trees could be important to people. Some spoke of the trees’ resilience, how the trees had been through storms, lost limbs, or were nicked by a car or two daily but still survive. Others commented on the beauty of a specific tree, whether it be the way the leaves look like lace or the way the bark appears golden after rain. Others described the ability of trees to build community pride and bring neighborhoods together. We all have a lot of different reasons for choosing favorite trees, and they should all be celebrated.
(LtoR) Ted Martello TreeBaltimore, and Claire Gray, JHU CIIP Intern celebrate Baltimore City’s newest confirmed City and State Champion Trees with official certificates from Maryland Big Trees Program
The #myfavoritetree map is entirely crowdsourced, so submit your favorite tree to help populate the map with all of our city’s special trees. Your submission will appear on a StoryMap on TreeBaltimore’s website, so the favorite tree needs to be on public lands or in the public right-of-way, or visible from the street with permission of the landowner. Help us fill up the map by emailing a photo, location, and reason why a tree is your favorite to firstname.lastname@example.org!
article by Claire Gray, Johns Hopkins University, Community Impact Internship Program Intern Summer 2017