Friday marks National Arbor Day – what better day to celebrate a natural resource right outside our door?
A large parking lot covers much of The Fresno Bee’s downtown property. Planted throughout are fruitless pear trees.
Known as Bradford pears, the trees form an urban forest that is home to squirrels and many species of birds.
The trees also reflect the change in seasons. They are deciduous, so they lose their leaves and stand bare in winter. As spring dawns, they burst forth with creamy white blossoms, then shoot out tiny green leaves. By summer their full canopies provide shade during the heat of the day. In fall the leaves change to deep red, then drop.
These changes were captured over the course of a year by Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss.
Arbor Day is the day dedicated to celebrate trees and their benefits, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Neb., by J. Sterling Morton, a journalist who had moved from Detroit. He used his newspaper to lobby for tree planting.
On April 10, 1872, an estimated 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska. That marked the start of tree planting meant to help hold the precious soil in place against the winds that sweep across the upper Midwest.