From the moment I hike the Hicks Canyon Trail every morning just before sunrise to the time I ride down eucalyptus and jacaranda-lined Irvine Boulevard in the evening, trees are one of the many reasons I love it to live in Irvine.
At 6 a.m. while my family is sleeping, I slip away to jog through North Irvine and watch the sun rise over the trees. Without a doubt, I return to sleepy children with a positive attitude and patience, associated only with this daily ritual of being outside in nature.
I came across these trails when I moved here 17 years ago and am fortunate to have benefited from Irvine’s extraordinary dedication to planting and caring for its 550,000+ trees, according to city statistics.
Even after breakfast, these trees breathe life into my family’s day. On the way to and from school, rows of eucalyptus trees show the way and protect us. They provide shade for the parents and perfect hiding spots for the children when they play along the way.
My neighborhood isn’t unique. Trees are all over Irvine.
The environmental benefits are well documented. They clean our air, cool our climate and improve our health. According to American Forests, the oldest national conservation organization in the United States, “a single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants a year and produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen – enough to feed two people.”