“Every single day you live, every single day on this planet… you make a difference.”
On September 21st of this year, famed chimpanzee researcher Dr. Jane Goodall visited Legacy Park for Fruitful Communities' and Roots and Shoots' International Day of Peace event, planting a small grouping of serviceberry trees so young that they were dwarfed by the symbolism they carried with them.
A famed observer of the natural world, Dr. Goodall was here, somewhat ironically, to speak not of observation but of the imperative to act on the things we witness. Her natural instinct, she said, was to remain in the jungle indefinitely, passively observing, but that the compulsion to act on environmental and social events happening around the world was just too strong.
“Every single day you live, every single day on this planet… you make a difference. And you can choose what kind of difference you make,” Goodall said.
Part of Goodall’s visit was to draw attention to the launch of an Atlanta-based Basecamp facility for her youth nurturing program, Roots and Shoots, that she founded in Tanzania in 1991.
The Basecamps are an effort to expand upon Roots and Shoots’ capacity to support the needs of people, animals, and the environment through small grants, education, and events like the Day of Peace.
Thus, the planting of the serviceberry trees was more than just an environmental gesture. It was a symbol — of a healthy planet, of service and cooperation, and of the belief that we as a species will still be here in the future to benefit from the actions we take today.
She didn’t mince words.
“If we don’t get together and take action right now to slow down climate change, the loss of biodiversity, the horrors of industrial farming and so on, we’re doomed.”
Dr. Jane Goodall kisses a leaf of a serviceberry tree after helping to plant it, Sept. 21, 2023, at Decatur's Legacy Park. PHOTO: Zoe Seiler for Decaturish, supportyourlocalnews.com.
While opinions on trees and tree management differ from person to person, there’s no denying that Decatur’s commitment to canopy preservation and growth is largely unmatched. It’s in the numbers.
According to available data, the City of Atlanta, widely regarded as the City in a Forest, has the highest level of canopy coverage — nearly 48% — among all other comparable cities nationwide. And yet Decatur, despite being one of Georgia’s densest cities, clocks in by similar methodology at 57%, roughly 9 percentage points higher.
That’s an enviable accomplishment and a solid foundation for further increasing canopy in the years ahead.
To that end, Decatur is partnered with Trees Atlanta in support of Decatur's 2023 Bicentennial, making 200 front yard shade trees available, free of charge, to Decatur homeowners. Each trees is planted by a Trees Atlanta representative, identified with Bicentennial Tree markers, and included on a digital map for posterity.
Trees Atlanta volunteer assists homeowner with a front yard tree planting. PHOTO: Trees Atlanta.
Beyond personal plantings on one’s own property, one way to contribute to Decatur’s tree canopy — and with it, to the wellbeing of both people and planet — is by contributing to our environmental stewardship efforts at Legacy Park. As the city’s largest green space, the park offers unmatched opportunities to nurture habitat, both human and natural, through the protection and addition of trees.
Three recommended levels of donation are available:
Funds environmental stewardship efforts at Legacy Park.
Donors receive recognition in Legacy Park’s monthly email newsletter.
Funds tree planting and tree care across the Legacy Park property.
Donors receive recognition on the Legacy Decatur website and in Legacy Park’s monthly email newsletter.
Sponsors a specific tree planting at Legacy Park.
Trees adorned with commemorative plaque at base. Donors receive recognition on the Legacy Decatur website and in Legacy Park’s monthly email newsletter.
Trees Atlanta volunteers clear invasive species from the Legacy Park forest. PHOTO: Trees Atlanta.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
— Joyce Kilmer
COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Hector Amador, Amador Photo
Celebrate Decatur's 200th Birthday with Your Gift to the Bicentennial Fund
Legacy Decatur – in its capacity as a city-affiliated 501(c)3 — has launched its bicentennial-themed "$200K in 200 Days" capital campaign with the ambitious goal of raising $200,000 to endow a series of legacy-oriented projects in support of the Decatur community — both today and in the century ahead. Your generous gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the City of Decatur. >> Give Today >>
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