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
Lexile: 840L

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They provide shade and air to breathe. Not to mention 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 reported that when they rolled out a program that assigned email addresses to trees. This was in a bid to help identify damage and issues. But what was discovered was that city residents preferred to write them love letters instead.
The city calls 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. They went to each of the city's trees. This made it easier to catch and rehabilitate damaged trees.
Then the emails began to arrive. Milman wrote that instead of damage reports, people wrote fan mail to trees. The writers complimented their looks and leaves. Some told tales of how they'd helped them survive during inclement weather. Some trees even wrote back.
The effort was part of a larger initiative. That was to protect Melbourne's 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline. 

It turns out Melbournians have always been arboreal enthusiasts. The city council noted that in the 1880s, residents wrote begging for the planting of blue gum eucalyptus trees to "absorb bad gasses" emanating from a nearby manure depot.

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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

  • rachelb-cel
    8/22/2017 - 11:59 a.m.

    The subject of the article seemed a little out there, but overall I think it was something fun to read about. It's not everyday that you hear about trees being sent emails, but I think that that's mostly what makes it fun and unique. Some of the writing seemed somewhat childish though, as it had some relatively short and simple sentences. However, because it is such a child appealing subject, it sort of seems to work for the article.

  • KynliC-eic
    9/01/2017 - 01:51 p.m.

    I think that it is so fascinating that somebody wrote a love letter to a tree. I would definitely love to write a letter to a tree.

  • Hadleye-eic
    9/01/2017 - 03:11 p.m.

    This is a very interesting story. I think it helped the trees. How did you come up with all those emails?

  • Emmac-dav1
    9/18/2017 - 01:34 p.m.

    In the passage,¨This is what happened when an Australian city gave trees email addresses¨, it tells about a Australian city that thought if they gave trees email addresses it would help citizens track tree damage. I disagree with this because when people thought that they were writing to trees, really they were just writing to a person behind a screen. Another reason i disagree with this is because people invented this to write damage reports, but after a while people started writing love letters and fan mail. Which defeats the purpose. It says in the passage,¨ That was to protect Melbourne's 70,000 city-owned trees from drought and decline.¨ This supports my last reason for why I disagree. Its kind of like if you had a tree in your backyard, and you decided to write it an email address. People can still cut it down even if it has an email! Although I think that this could have helped with problems that were happening in the forests, so that the people had someone to reach out to, it still was not a very smart idea.

  • RaijaG-erl
    9/19/2017 - 03:13 p.m.

    I don't understand how a tree would respond to an email, but it sounds like a fun idea!

  • Boef-eic
    9/28/2017 - 11:59 a.m.

    Ha an address for every tree. Wouldn't it take you forever to find the tree your looking for.

  • William-bla2
    10/19/2017 - 11:33 a.m.

    I thought this was really cool though it was a little weird too. I mean trees writing emails... I'm not sure what exactly to think. I think it was a good idea for people in Melbourne to wright damage reports but fan mail? what do you even say to a tree anyway? trees are pretty cool though, they take in gasses like carbon dioxide and turn them into oxygen which we in turn breath in and use ourselves. thanks trees for helping us live every day.

  • Maggie-bla
    10/19/2017 - 04:01 p.m.

    When I first saw this article, I was like, "Okay. Cool! A little strange, yes, but cool!" When I clicked on it, I found the article was a little short, but still chock full of useful information.
    In my opinion, trees writing back is beneficial for the public's mood. Knowing that your voice is heard, understood, and appreciated generally boosts your mood! Although, I am not entirely convinced that it is the trees writing back. I am pretty sure that it is the government selecting a few email addresses, sending the same message, or tweaking the message to respond to the person "originally." The emails were also stated to go directly to the government. The text states, "Melbourne assigned ID numbers and email addresses," It also states later in the text, "instead of damage reports..." This proves that the government associated with Melbourne was tracking the emails and most likely responding. Sorry to taint anyones ideas that the trees sent the emails, but it seems like something that [the actual trees] would realistically do in a Sci-Fi book series.

  • ionicaj-cel
    11/07/2017 - 12:18 p.m.

    With all of the environmental damage being done to the earth today, this is a positive thing. You never know how many people cared about the environment until they got email addresses.

  • Nelly-E2
    11/11/2017 - 09:45 a.m.

    people sending email to trees. they say some of the trees rote back to them. some Australians said to there email how there life was or some other stuff.
    sometimes I never thought that would even exist.

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