Life in The Maple City: Benefits of an Urban Forest

Welcome to the first installment of “Life in The Maple City!” Today I hope to give a brief overview of what the Goshen Guide has to offer us, and also dive into the perks that come along with an urban forest.

If you’ve never explored the Goshen Guide, I really urge you to! Go ahead, just start clicking around and see what you find. If I’ve still got your interest here, I can give you a simplified explanation of what it’s all about…. The Goshen Guide functions as an interactive archive for all things Goshen; and in that way, it’s sort of our local wikipedia. (Find out more in the About tab above.)

Navigating through the Goshen Guide may seem daunting at first, but the “themes” and “related topics” at the end of each page can help you sort it out pretty quick. Or, by using the search tool, you can easily discover content important to you. After searching for “trees,” I located the 2011 Tree Inventory and found in 2011, Goshen’s public lands boasted over 22% canopy cover and 12,000 trees! According to Aaron our city forester, that number has grown to over 13,000 in the past seven years with the help of middle school classes, 4-H groups, college students, local businesses, and numerous other individuals. The Inventory also reports that our trees save the city over $1,000,000 every year! I would say that’s pretty impressive.

If you click one of these keywords: urban forest or trees, you can find the other documents, videos, etc. that relate to Goshen’s trees. But, since accessing data is what the Guide is all about, you can also find some important ones right here:

I would argue that the most interesting and valuable tree data for Goshen lie in the MyTreeKeeper map. This map is frankly amazing. Sure, we know trees save us money and help preserve the Earth, but with this map, you can see exactly what that Red Maple in your front yard is contributing to our shared salvation.

Taking in this information is a great way to appreciate the forest we live with. However, you may be asking, what’s next? We have this content at our fingertips, what else can we do with it? Those are great questions and I definitely don’t have all the answers. But, as first steps, we can use this information is to promote tree plantings and dissuade tree removal. From a statistical approach, interested individuals could geospatially analyze relationships between trees and other Goshen data (e.g. water quality), or perhaps, determine if there is a correlation between location and benefits. The possibilities, while not infinite, are certainly immense.

Catch next week’s blog about the history of our trees, and in the meantime, keep exploring.

Check out the other Posts in this Series

Life in The Maple City: Looking Forward

Now that we know about the scientific data and history surrounding the trees of Goshen, it’s time to look at what we can do to help our urban forest thrive. With the tools of the Guide, we can read about so many different aspects of the urban forest, but we need to also take the time to put that knowledge into practice.

Life in The Maple City: A Historical Lens on Our Budding Forest

Looking around on campus I’m struck with the idea that others decades ago planted these huge trees. In Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley’s Goshen News column, the Naturalized Mid-American, he often reflects on Goshen’s trees and their stories. In “A tree with a history tied to Kunderd gladiolus farm,” he describes the fruitful life of an elm tree over the past 50 years.

Life in The Maple City: Benefits of an Urban Forest

Welcome to the first installment of “Life in The Maple City!” Today I hope to give a brief overview of what the Goshen Guide has to offer us, and also dive into the perks that come along with an urban forest.

Life In The Maple City: A Tree City U.S.A.

I’m excited to share that April is going to be a month for celebrating trees. Each week, I will highlight an aspect of our trees that helps make our city “The Maple City.” Thanks to our urban forest, Goshen has been named a Tree City U.S.A. by the National Arbor Foundation for over two decades.

About The Author

Anna Shetler

Anna Shetler is a Goshen native finishing her final year at Goshen College. As an Interdisciplinary major with focuses in Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology, she has come to learn and love the various connections that can be made across disciplines. Anna is a intern at the Community Resilience Guild, helping to develop the Goshen Guide.

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