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Determined to plant my first tree in Harford County in observance of Arbor Day, I ignored the forecast for heavy rain and headed to Annie’s Playground in Fallston.

Tree planting festivals are as old as civilization and the tree has appeared throughout history and literature as the symbol of life, and there is a good reason for it. Life could not exist on earth without them because they produce our oxygen. Trees are like the lungs of the planet, they breath in carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide from the air and release oxygen.

In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

However, while trees can help to offset pollution created by over development and the rise of traffic congestion in Harford County, they can’t alleviate the frustration and visual blight we all experience.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic on two lane roads is a daily reminder of years of poor planning by Harford County and the insufficient coordination with the State Highway Administration, which is one of the reasons I’m running for Harford County Council, District C. I love the scenic beauty of this area and I don’t want to see it become another concrete, pollution-filled jungle. We need better planning and tougher rules on the impact of traffic on development.

As for that tree, after I finished planting and got into my car, the burgeoning, dark clouds that had been looming released a downpour of rain. Pleased at how lucky I had been to avert disaster and achieve my goal, I realized that Harford County will need more than just luck to enjoy a beautiful, well-planned community for the future. The Environment needs a friend on the County Council, and that friend is me.

In the meantime, I frequently walk the trails at the playground and will be regularly checking in on the progress of my tree. However, after all the work of putting the little tree into the ground —- walking three miles to plant it, preparing it and feeding it mulch —- I feel it needs a name.

Any Suggestions?

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Authorization, Friends of Karen Kukurin, Treasurer Rita Scharmann

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