This the first post in a six part blog introducing the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Department’s, “Please Do Hug the Trees” campaign. The blog gives background to the Director’s Letter appearing in the LPRD Spring Summer Guide. For reference the letter is posted below.
The free loving, ecologically friendly hippies of the 60’s and 70’s have been vindicated. Science has now validated that tree hugging does make you feel better and improves your health. In fact, you don’t even have to embrace a tree to reap the health benefits.
Good vibrations are transferred from trees to humans just by being in the vicinity of the tree according to a recently published book, Blinded by Science. The author Matthew Silverstone, asserts via compelling evidence that trees improve many health issues such as mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, depression and the ability to alleviate headaches. “Up until now it has been thought to be the open green spaces that cause this effect. However, Matthew Silverstone, shows it has nothing to do with this by showing that it is the vibrational properties of trees and plants that give us the health benefits and not the open green spaces.”
(Warning to reader: The rest of this blog gets deep into the weeds of history, electromagnetic frequencies and parks and recreation’s role. If you are a sound bite person and elect to stop reading now, you’ll have the absorbed gist of the topic.)
The History of Tree Huggers
Before I get into the science behind beneficial tree hugging, I want to give a shout out to some of the original tree huggers.
Lionizing trees didn’t begin with hippies, it is something that began centuries ago. The first tree huggers were 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnois branch of Hinduism, who, in 1730, died while attempting to protect the trees in their village. They literally clung to the trees that foresters planned to turn into the raw material for building a palace. Though slaughtered by the foresters, their action led to a royal decree barring the cutting of trees in any Bishnoi village. The result of those villagers sacrifice are virtual wooded oases amidst an otherwise desert landscape.
Not only that, the Bishnois inspired the Chipko movement that continued in the 1970s, when a group of peasant women in the Himalayan mountains of northern India cleaved their arms around trees authorized to be cut down. “Within a few years, this tactic, also known as tree satyagraha, had spread across India, ultimately forcing reforms in forest management and a moratorium on tree felling in Himalayan regions.”
In Poland, some people still hug birch trees, believing that the trees will improve physical and psychological wellbeing.
Lionizing Trees and Nature
Native Americans have been expressing their gratitude for nature — specifically trees — for centuries.
The western red cedar became a “cornerstone of Northwest Coastal Indian culture”— so much so that these Native Americans call themselves “People of the Cedar.” While tribes such as the Northwest Coast Indians are known to revere whole species of trees, the Lenape Indians, also known as the Delaware Indians, proclaim a special connection to a single tree, aptly named the Sacred Oak. In the Pacific Northwest, the western red cedar offered the Northwest Coast Indians spiritual and health benefits, and, in the mid-Atlantic, the Sacred Oak spared the Lenape Indians the grief of death and the hardship of war.
End of Part I: The Tree Hugging Hippies Were Right After All. Stay tuned next week for Part II of this six part series.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most important things in life are taken for granted? We can get so distracted by day-to-day tasks or the glittering pursuit of external success that we forget about the truly important things in life; things like water, air, and trees that are necessary for our very survival.
This year Lynchburg Parks and Recreation (LPR) has decided it is due time to overcome the distraction matrix and get back to nature. We are talking about a true reconnection with planet Earth. We envision that this reconnection can be achieved through a recalibration of the natural human energy field synchronized by the heartbeat of the Earth. The Earth’s electromagnetic heartbeat is called Schumann resonance. The Schumann resonance of 7.83 Hz is the same frequency of the human brain’s alpha and theta waves (more about that in an upcoming blog). This may sound scientific but our plan is pretty simple. By drawing awareness to our inspired natural connection and creating this campaign replete with programs, events, and the energy that only parks and recreation can summon, we hope to manifest a healthier Lynchburg community with a renewed appreciation for our natural environment.
We would like to invite fellow Lynchburgers to join us in a year-long celebration of our natural world and to especially lionize the trees. We are calling this campaign, “Please Do Hug the Trees.” To kick things off, we will gently attach signs on trees (don’t worry, we won’t hurt them) in our parks and trails that encourage folks to hug the trees. We are calling all tree huggers, new and old to take photos of themselves hugging trees with the attached tree insignia and send them to us through Facebook or email. I will choose the photo that best captures the spirit of the campaign to be featured in our next LPR actvity guide. The goal is to have the Lynchburg collective become true tree huggers in the year 2016. We are secretly helping tree huggers to recalibrate their natural energy field too!
During the summer and fall season, there are three aspects to the “Please Do Hug The Trees” campaign including the signs on the trees, an invitation to join our new Mayor on a hike this fall in conjunction with the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration 100 Hikes Campaign, and an opportunity to donate to our Natural Playgrounds Campaign operated through Friends of Lynchburg Parks and Recreation. To get a better idea of the entire campaign and the method to our madness, please read my related blog posts on our website.
Stay tuned (7.83 Hz) and by all means, “Please Do Hug the Trees”!
Jennifer Jones, Director
Lynchburg Parks and Recreation