National Love a Tree Day is a time for us to celebrate the gentle, silent giants that live on our planet. They range from the smallest bush to the large redwoods that dot America’s west coast. Trees are a thing of beauty and life, giving voice to the quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley when he said, “All of beauty in the earth bears the fingerprint of the Master Creator.” With that in mind, this is why we love trees and how we can show it on Love a Tree Day (or all year round):
Why We Love Trees
We should love trees not only because they play an important on this planet—they provide some of the valuable oxygen that allows us to breathe—but because they have also played an important role in God’s interaction with His children.
Trees in the Scriptures
Trees reach back to the creation of the world. In fact, Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a decision that gave life to the rest of us and began God’s Plan of Salvation.
In that same garden was the Tree of Life, the tree that both Lehi and Nephi dreamed about. The tree symbolizes eternal life—a perfect metaphor for a creation that sinks roots deep into the earth and spreads its branches into the air, that takes light and water and changes it with the alchemy of science into food and oxygen—and the fruit the love of God.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and another important event—the most important event—took place amidst trees, but these were olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world, choosing to bring life to all mankind under the boughs of trees.
After another few thousand years, a young boy—Joseph Smith, Jr.—prayed underneath the boughs of trees thousands of miles from that grove in Jerusalem. This prayer started the process of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Trees in Talks
For thousands of years, trees have witnessed and played roles in some of the most important events in human history. They have also played a role in literature. Some of our most beloved prophets, apostles, and other general authorities have mentioned them, using them as metaphors.
Elder Hugh B. Brown talked at BYU and in the New Era about a currant bush, using it as a symbol of us. In the story, Elder Brown cuts back a currant bush instead of allowing it to grow tall in order to get it to bear fruit. Later in his own life, the Lord cuts down his progress in the military in order to put his life in a different direction because the Lord is the gardener and that wild currant bush is us.
Years later, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke in General Conference about how trees, during years of lack, slow down their outer growth in order to strengthen their roots. The idea is that during turbulent times in our lives, we need “to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.”
How to Show Our Love
Scriptural and metaphorical significance aside, trees add value to our world. They’re a critical component of life on this planet. They add beauty. They add fun. Nothing beats the shade under a tree during a hot day or climbing the boughs of one in the summer. Here are some ways to celebrate Love a Tree Day:
1. Plant a Tree
2. Adopt a Tree
Go to Trees for Change and adopt a tree. Fill the world with more of these gentle giants.
3. Learn about Your Trees
Explore your trees and learn about them: the species, leaf type, buds, and pollinators. Get to know your trees, and then give them a hug.
4. Dedicate Yourself to Recycling
Choose to use 100-percent recycled paper towels and toilet paper, saving trees from a future of being cut down and remade into waste.
5. Go Hiking
If you don’t have trees, no problem. Go hiking to your nearest tree or explore the forests, meadows, mountains, and plains around you. Appreciating any nature is a win for all nature on Love a Tree Day.