People All Over the World are Sending Love Letters to Trees in Melbourne
Melbourne, Australia has about 77,000 trees in their urban areas. In an effort to keep up with damage (such as broken limbs, disease, vandalism) to such a large amount of trees, city officials assigned each tree an ID number and email address. But, as they would soon see, Chair of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood says, there has been “unintended but positive consequences.”
You see, not only are people reporting issues but they are writing letters of love to the trees! They are sending well wishes, positive energy, asking questions, and expressing how much they appreciate the trees. “The email interactions reveal the love Melburnians have for our trees,” Wood said.
City officials released a few of the letters but redacted the sender’s names to respect their privacy. I’ve listed several below and I’ll tell you, these are just a complete joy to read.
To: Golden Elm, Tree ID 1037148
21 May 2015
I’m so sorry you’re going to die soon. It makes me sad when trucks damage your low hanging branches. Are you as tired of all this construction work as we are?
To: Algerian Oak, Tree ID 1032705
2 February 2015
Dear Algerian oak,
Thank you for giving us oxygen. Thank you for being so pretty. I don’t know where I’d be without you to extract my carbon dioxide. (I would probably be in heaven) Stay strong, stand tall amongst the crowd. You are the gift that keeps on giving. We were going to speak about wildlife but don’t have enough time and have other priorities, unfortunately. Hopefully one day our environment will be our priority.
To: Green Leaf Elm, Tree ID 1022165
Dear Green Leaf Elm,
I hope you like living at St. Mary’s. Most of the time I like it too. I have exams coming up and I should be busy studying. You do not have exams because you are a tree. I don’t think that there is much more to talk about as we don’t have a lot in common, you being a tree and such. But I’m glad we’re in this together.
To: Green Leaf Elm, Tree ID 1022165
Hello Green Leaf Elm,
It’s me again (F). I just got my marks for last semester back! On a definitely completely unrelated note, how do you deal with the constant, relentlessly soul-crushing pain of disappointment after the disappointment that characterizes our lives on Earth? You must be very old, right? So I thought you might know.
To: Western red cedar, Tree ID 1058295
Are you worried about being affected by the Greek debt crisis? Should Greece be allowed to stay in the European Union?
To: Weeping Myrtle, Tree ID 1494392
Hello Weeping Myrtle,
I’m sitting inside near you and I noticed on the urban tree map you don’t have many friends nearby. I think that’s sad so I want you to know I’m thinking of you. I also want to thank you for providing oxygen for us to breathe in the hustle and bustle of the city.
Some of the letters even come from outside of Melbourne. Since launching in May 2013, the Urban Forest website has received more than 3,000 emails to individual trees. The letters have come from as far away as Hong Kong, Brazil, Moldova, Russia, Germany, the US, Britain, Hungary, Singapore, and Denmark.
To: Oak, Tree ID 1070546
11 February 2015
How y’all? Just sayin how do.
My name is Quercus Alba. Y’all can call me Al. I’m about 350 years old and live on a small farm in N.E. Mississippi, USA. I’m about 80 feet tall, with a trunk girth of about 16 feet. I don’t travel much (actually haven’t moved since I was an acorn). I just stand around and provide a perch for local birds and squirrels.
Have good day,
To: Golden wych elm (ID 1028612)
Hi tree on the corner of Punt Road and Alexandra Avenue and that little street that goes up the side,
How are you? How old are you? I’ve always wondered about you ever since my slightly strange driving instructor (who always smelled like cat food and peppermints) told me you were his favourite tree.
I hope they don’t knock you down.
To: Brush Box (ID 1039919)
14 July 2015
Hello, dear Tree.
I read about this wonderful project and suppose to write you from another side of Earth – Russia. I hope you have a good care and don’t sick. One day we will meet, may be.
To: English Elm (ID 1032245)
14 July 2015
Are you and your fellow English Elms enjoying the Ashes series as much as we in England are, and are you giving the native Aussie trees some stick over their team’s performance?
And some have provided sage advice for a tree:
To: Chinese Elm (ID 1289990)
19 February 2015
My Name is Tina I’m from Germany. I like trees all over the world, you know. Let me tell you something about German trees. They live in huge woods and because it rains often in Germany they almost never suffer from drought. This might sound heavenly to you but believe me, Germany is not heavenly in winter – it’s freezing cold and quite dark. I wish I could come and tell you more about them but Australia is damn far away from here.
Keep away from fire!
Sending you best wishes from Germany
The 77,000 trees are mapped in a project called Urban Forest Visual. Wood says, “We know that Melburnians are passionate about their trees, parks, and gardens. We were surprised and delighted to find that many people all over the world feel the same way.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have researching it and writing it. Please share this gem with your tribe.
Latest posts by Sheila Burke (see all)
- What is Ubuntu and Why is It So Important for Humanity? - 12/23/2017
- An Example of Pure Humankindness - 12/20/2017
- How to Become an Advocate - 12/04/2017