Our Urban Forest
An urban forest is a forest or a collection of trees that grow within a residential community. They can provide many benefits to the inhabitants: by filtering air, water, and sunlight; providing shelter to animals and recreational areas for people. They also moderate local climate, slowing wind and precipitation, and shading homes and businesses to conserve energy. They are critical in cooling the urban ”heat island” effect, thus potentially reducing the number of days with unhealthy ozone levels that occur in and around major cities during summer months.
The presence of trees reduces stress, and trees have long been seen to benefit the health of urban dwellers. The shade of trees and other urban green spaces create areas for people to congregate, socialize and play. The biologist and author E. O. Wilson has advanced the idea that people are instinctively drawn to nature, while researchers of Attention Restoration Theory (ART) have confirmed measurable improvements in medical, academic and other outcomes, from access to nature. To achieve these results, planning and community involvement are vital, and keys to maintaining CHBI’s quality of life.
Trees also provide nesting sites and food for birds and other animals. People appreciate nearby opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. An annual rite of spring for many residents is watching a congregation of snowy egrets return to several trees along the Long Salt Water Lagoon to nest and raise their young. Urban trees and wildlife help people maintain their connection with nature and each other.