Venu Payyanur 

Nature is the biggest benefactor for humanity and the greatest teacher of all. The colour, beauty, light, sound and movements that you see in the nature is amazing! Can a person ever create such wonders? God only can! The lessons one can learn from nature is unlimited, restricted only by the power of your observation, imagination and enthusiasm or lack of it. There is not a single thing in this world that has been created without a purpose, whether it is you or a stone, we only have to enquire and find the purpose to live it! Every scientific invention or discovery that we see today is only an extension of what we see in nature. Whether it is modern construction technology, medicines, engineering designs or aircraft building, you can trace it back to something that you can see in our nature. Nature also gives us great lessons on behaviour and character building, whether you watch ants for their teamwork and industry or the dogs for their love and loyalty. Every creation in nature gives you immense lessons.

Lessons from Trees

  1. Be flexible – the tree that bends a little to the harmless breeze will later grow to withstand the wild wind. Similarly if you maintain a degree of flexibility in our attitudes and viewpoints, such persons will not be broken in any form of criticism or opposition.
  2. Leaves – though they are small, are vital to the life of a tree. Similarly in our lives, there are many whom we consider insignificant are indeed important to our sustenance and growth and should be taken good care of. Even a simple word of appreciation or thank you will go a long way in encouraging them and supporting you in your endeavours.
  3. Do not be intimidated (disappointed) by small beginning in your life. A mighty oak or banyan tree was a small seedling one day. Efforts when enriched with strong motivation and determination will grow and only sky would be the limits.
  4. Do not be afraid of change. Invigorate your life by letting go off the past and fast forwarding to something new. For the sprout to come out the shell has to be broken. Old leaves have to be shed for new ones to take its place.
  5. Practice team work – in forests individual trees support each other. By interlocking roots and branches trees in the forest survive powerful cyclones but a giant tree standing alone could easily be uprooted. Collaboration and team work is essential for success and growth.
  6. It is important to have deep roots to survive and grow – deeper the roots, taller the tree and only such trees can withstand heavy winds or adverse external environmental conditions. Similarly it is critical for us to develop deep roots wherever we are, whether in the place of our birth, place where we live or the company we work. Frequent change of job or living place does not help us develop deeper roots.
  7. Grow where you are planted – every plant needs certain environmental and physical conditions to survive and grow, a tropical plant cannot grow in the arctic region or vice versa. If you think that people living in western countries are lucky and opportunities are unfavourably stacked in favour of them, think twice before you plan to immigrate to that nation. You may feel discriminated; even worse, you may not get the same opportunities as locals and may not even enjoy the climate and life style.
  8. Avoid people who would cut you down.
  9. Shed your leaves during harsh winter – during heavy snow falls, trees can collapse on their own weight if it does not shed the leaves. Similarly lack of sun makes the leaves without much function during the winter. Many companies resort to large scale retrenchment during recession or such severe external economic conditions to survive the difficult times.

10. Trees with fruits bend their heads – trees standing tall are those without fruits. Humility is an essential personality trait for those who are knowledgeable, successful and in high positions.

11. Be prepared for brickbats and criticism – people throw stones at fruit bearing trees only. The higher your position in society or in your organization, the harsher the criticism that you will hear.

12. A fast growing tree is weak and has a short life and a slow growing tree is stronger and has a long life. Manage your growth and be stronger and stay long.

13. Trees that do not provide fruits are grown to be used as firewood and will be cut down when they reach certain age and size.  If you do not produce expected results for your company, you will be cut down in due course of time.

14. Work hard – trees and leaves work very hard. Leaves are the primary work force for the tree. During daytime, it takes sun light and prepares nutrition for the entire tree. At night it converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and serves the society. Our work culture and life should reflect that of a leaf, always engaged and working for the benefit of others.

15. Give shelter – a tree provides shelter for birds, butterflies, snakes and many such living organisms. It provides shade and shelter for tired pedestrians from the harsh sun or rain. Our lives should reflect that of a tree; help those in need and difficulty irrespective of caste, creed, religion or region.

16. Tree and an organization – tree reflects an organizational structure with branches and sub branches.

  1. The roots anchor the plant. It is the head or corporate office. It absorbs the minerals and water from the soil, essential for the survival of the plant and also acts as a site for storage.
  2. The stems provide the support for the plant. It produces new tissues and provides transportation between leaves and roots. It can also act as a storage place. The regional or branch offices that recruits and trains persons essential to run the organization.
  3. Leaves are like workers in an organization, either organized singly or in pairs depending upon the requirements of nature. Leaves main function is photosynthesis, a process wherein carbon dioxide and water is combined with the help of sun light to produce the essential food for the plant and to the entire humanity. The waste product is oxygen which is so vital for our survival. Leaves structure is designed to adapt to the nature.

17. This story gives some interesting lessons about our life – There was an old man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn some valuable lessons and who are always too quick to judge things or give up too easily on the first obstacle that confront them. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was at a great distance away. The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son said no it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son disagreed; he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfilment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because
they had each seen but only one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up. If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfilment of your fall. Moral lessons: Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest. Don’t judge life by one difficult season.

Facts about Trees – General

  1. Trees keep our air supply fresh by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
  2. In one year, an acre of trees can absorb as much carbon as is produced by a car driven up to 8700 miles.
  3. Trees provide shade and shelter, reducing yearly heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.
  4. Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
  5. The average tree in metropolitan area survives only about 8 years!
  6. A tree does not reach its most productive stage of carbon storage for about 10 years.
  7. Trees cut down noise pollution by acting as sound barriers.
  8. Tree roots stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
  9. Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water as well as protecting aquifers and watersheds.

10. Trees provide protection from downward fall of rain, sleet, and hail as well as reduce storm run-off and the possibility of flooding,

11. Trees provide food and shelter for wildlife.

12. Trees located along streets act as a glare and reflection control.

13. The death of one 70-year old tree would return over three tons of carbon to the atmosphere.

Tree Biology

  1. Trees are the longest living organisms on earth.
  2. Trees and other plants make their food through a process called photosynthesis.
  3. The inside of a tree is made of cork, phloem, cambium, and xylem.
  4. The xylem of a tree carries water from the roots to the leaves.

Trees and the Environment

  1. Trees renew our air supply by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.
  2. The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. One tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year.
  3. One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year.
  4. Shade trees can make buildings up to 20 degrees cooler in the summer.
  5. Trees lower air temperature by evaporating water in their leaves.
  6. Tree roots stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
  7. Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water, as well as protecting aquifers and watersheds.
  8. The cottonwood tree seed is the seed that stays in flight the longest. The tiny seed is surrounded by ultra-light, white fluff hairs that can carry it on the air for several days.

Record-setting Trees

  1. One of the tallest soft wood trees is the General Sherman, a giant redwood sequoia of California. General Sherman is about 275 ft or 84 m high with a girth of 25 ft or 8 m.
  2. The 236 ft or 72 m high Ada Tree of Australia has a 50 ft or 15.4 m girth and a root system that takes up more than an acre.
  3. The world’s tallest tree is a coast redwood in California, measuring more than 360 ft or 110 m.
  4. The world’s oldest trees are 4,600 year old Bristlecone pines in the USA.
  5. Trees and Science
  6. Dendrochronology is the science of calculating a tree’s age by its rings.
  7. Tree rings provide precise information about environmental events, including volcanic eruptions.
  8. A mature birch tree can produce up to 1 million seeds per year.

More Tree Facts

  1. A single edition of a daily newspaper uses the wood from approximately 5,000 trees to make the paper. One ton of recycled paper saves approximately 15 trees and their habitat.
  2. The average tree will drink approximately 2,000 litres of water each year.
  3. Trees receive an estimated 90% of their nutrition from the atmosphere and only 10% from the soil.
  4. Trees grow from the top, not from the bottom as is commonly believed. A branch’s location on a tree will only move up the trunk a few inches in 1000 years.
  5. No tree dies of old age. They are generally killed by insects, disease or by people. California Bristlecone Pines and Giant Sequoias are regarded as the oldest trees and have been known to live 4,000 to 5,000 years.
  6. There are about 20,000 tree species in the world. India has the largest tree treasuries in the world and second is USA.
  7. The largest area of forest in the tropics remains the Amazon Basin, amounting to 81.5 million acres.
  8. Some trees can “talk” to each other. When willows are attacked by webworms and caterpillars, they emit a chemical that alerts nearby willow of the danger. The neighboring trees then respond by pumping more tannin into their leaves making it difficult for the insects to digest the leaves.
  9. Knocking on wood for good luck originated from primitive tree worship when rapping on trees was believed to summon protective spirits in the trees.

10. Trees can induce rainfall by cooling the land and transpiring water into the sky from their leaves. An acre of maple trees can put as much as 20,000 gallons of water into the air each day.

11. Trees prevent erosion by trapping soil that would otherwise become silt. Silt destroys fish eggs and other aquatic wildlife and makes rivers and streams shallower, causing more frequent and more severe flooding. Trees along streams also hold stream banks in place to protect against flooding.

12. Planting 30 trees each year offsets greenhouse gases from your car and home.

13. Trees provide substances with medicinal values such as the active ingredients used in asthma medications and cough remedies. Aspirin is derived from the bark of a willow tree.

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