Changes in environment can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.
Trees, especially large deciduous shade trees, provide cooling shade during the warmer months of the year. Shade trees cool homes, office buildings, sidewalks, parking lots and many other urban and rural locations. We all understand how much cooler we feel sitting under a tree versus the hot sun on the sidewalk; however, just how much that tree can cool the air is a surprise to many of us. The temperature under a medium-sized tree is at least 3 to 4 percent cooler than the air around or above the tree. In fact, well-placed trees can reduce the need for air conditioning in a home or building by as much as 30 percent. This reduced need for artificial cooling produces a domino effect: reduced need for air conditioning -- less energy needed to run the air conditioner -- less fossil fuels needed (oil, coal) to fuel the air conditioner -- less pollutants created by the burning and mining of these fuels.
Awareness of the need to find a balance between urban development and a healthy urban ecosystem is important to our well being. The creation of heat islands can be a danger to our physical, psychological and economical health. A heat island is a term that refers to mostly urban areas with few trees and green areas. A large percent of the earth is covered in cement and asphalt. Trees and greenery can drastically reduce summer temperatures and minimize the "heat island effect."
Trees can also save us energy and money in the winter. Trees and shrubs planted near a home, school or office building can help block the cold winter winds and create a buffer around a building. This can reduce heating needs and related costs. Objective:
To have the students understand the many energy saving benefits of trees and how that relates to reducing air pollution.
Use the Treeture, Steward, as a possible guide, icon or symbol to help animate and enhance your lesson. His rap songs can be used in a class performance. The students can try to write their own "rap" about street trees and the animals that live in street trees. What do they see as they try to exist as part of the busy life in a town or city? See the Treeture, Professor Arbor E. Tum, for more about urban trees.
*The Treeture characters, as learning tools, can be adapted to any grade level. For example, students in grades K-1 could utilize coloring pages, finger puppets and collages. Stories, poems, creation of new Treetures characters, newsletters and plays could be fun and used as mentoring projects by the 5th and 6th graders for younger students. Another entertaining educational activity is to hold a Treeture Fair. This project has been successfully implemented in many schools. Each Treeture character can be enlarged and placed on an easel on a table with an appropriate experiment or example of its tree role.
Totally True Treeture Trivia:
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