This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses
This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses Would you email a tree? (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian/W. Meier/Corbis)
This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses
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They provide shade, air to breathe and an undeniable sense of grandeur. But would you ever write a letter to a tree?
Officials in Melbourne, Australia have discovered that for many, the answer is a resounding yes - The Guardian's Oliver Milman reports that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees in a bid to help identify damage and issues, they discovered that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.
The city is calling it "an unintended but positive consequence" of their attempt to help citizens track tree damage. On their urban forest data site, Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses to each of the city's trees so it would be easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.
Then the emails began to arrive. Milman writes that instead of damage reports, people began to write fan mail to trees, complimenting their looks and leaves and telling tales of how they'd helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even write back.
The effort is part of a larger initiative to protect Melbourne's 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. But it turns out that Melbournians have always been arboreal enthusiasts: the city council notes that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eu

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What is the benefit of the trees writing back, and how do they do it?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • alejandracp-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:23 a.m.

    One of the benefits of the trees writing back is that people get excited and continue to write to the tree. I believe a person reads over the letters and writes back to the person who sent the letter.

  • johns-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:24 a.m.

    The benefit of the trees writing back is that the person who wrote will become emotionally invested in the tree and the forest overall; which in turn will mean that the person will take better care of that forest and the environment overall. The "tree" that is writing back is either a robot or a human.

  • oliviam-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:24 a.m.

    The benefit of the tree writing back is that the person that initially wrote to the tree will be more engaged and will want to continue talking either to the same tree or a new one. Since the Melbourne officials were the original creators of the program, most likely they were the ones responding to peoples emails to the trees.

  • adeler-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:26 a.m.

    The trees can start a conversation, and this keeps the writer engaged. Then they might start to do this for more trees, and this can give useful information to the officials about the trees health and other things. A person can write back for a tree.

  • jonathans-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:26 a.m.

    The benefit of the tress writing back is that the person who first wrote the letter will get a sense of happiness that the tree did write back, and they will be more likely to help out the trees because they will build a connection with them, even if it was not actually the tree writing back.

  • wrens-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:32 a.m.

    The benefit of trees "writing" back is going to leave a positive effect on the person who is leaving letters for the trees. The person may feel like they made a new friend! It may boost moral or for a child fulfill their dream of being able to talk to a tree! This would certainly make an interesting story to tell friends and family.

  • kylel-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:36 a.m.

    The benefit of trees writing back is if the writer is feeling a certain type of way they could write to the trees and the trees will write back. Therefore, the writer will feel engaged to writing to someone and will feel better. The emails go towards the post office and the post office workers will right back acting as the tree.

  • dannym-ten1
    9/10/2020 - 09:37 a.m.

    The benefit of trees writing back is to protects the trees and better secure the environment. Although the trees obviously can't write back, it would persuade people to protect nature.

  • alyssad-ten
    9/10/2020 - 09:40 a.m.

    When the trees write back it lets people know that the whole tree emailing thing isn't a waste of time or effort. The trees have people writing back fan mail for them and answering other fan mail.

  • JackK-pla1
    9/15/2020 - 02:45 p.m.

    This article talks about an experiment the city of Melbourne, Australia conducted with their trees, and email addresses. In order to better identify damage and issues with local trees, Melbourne officials assigned an ID and email address to each one. They encouraged citizens to email the tree if they noticed any damage to it, but citizens tended to use the email for more personal reasons. Again and again, emails came in describing someone's emotional attachment and memories associated with a tree. This relates to civic engagement because the email addresses are designed to give citizens a way to actively help preserve the nature in their community. It gives citizens an easy, quick way to make a difference, while allowing them to have a little fun with it too.

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