The value of trees and what we at Hansen-Spear are doing to help the environment
We all know that trees are an important part of our environment. Trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. (I would have to go find my college notes to give a full explanation.) A mature, leafy tree can produce enough oxygen for up to ten people to breath according to some reports. This growing tree is also removing carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases, from the air which many suggest promotes climate change issues. Trees give shade, which helps retain soil moisture and reduces energy consumption during those hot summer days. In fact, a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that reforestation is the NUMBER 1 solution for climate change.
So, what does that have to do with us at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home? Many people do not know how active we have been over the years with reforestation efforts. Our major casket supplier, Batesville Casket Company, began its “Living Memorial” program in 1976. This effort has resulted in over 14 million trees being planted all over the United States. We estimate that over 6000 of those trees were planted in memory of loved ones served by our funeral home.
This program was so successful that people who did not purchase a Batesville Casket were interested in having a tree planted. In 1991, we partnered with The Lofty Oaks Association, a group that has planted hundreds of thousands of trees on public lands throughout the United States, to have a tree planted, IN ILLINOIS, in memory of every family we have served. As of 2019, we have purchased over 5000 trees for reforestation efforts in Illinois. In 2017, the Lofty Oaks trees we purchased were planted on the Horn Field Campus of Western Illinois University. This 92 acre Campus is located one mile south of Macomb, Illinois and includes woodlands, prairie and miles of nature trails.
But we also love our hometown and wanted to bring our efforts to Quincy. In 2007, Anne St. John and a group of friends teamed with Tom Friye of Bergman Nurseries to organize the group, “Quincy Trees for Tomorrow”. The goal was to restore the beautiful canopy of trees for which Quincy had long been noted. As the only funeral to feature Trees for Tomorrow trees on our property (located at the corner of 16th & State) we currently have four trees here as well as a tree planted in memory of Charlotte Spear (located in front of the former School Board offices at 1444 Maine Street).
Brian Durante and Will Spear continued the green efforts at Hansen-Spear by having an Earth Day celebration soon after purchasing the funeral home in 2016 where they gave away five hundred tree seedlings.
It’s not a coincidence that our love of trees and nature is even manifested in our logo, the Japanese Maple leaf. I have previously written about ‘Grandma Hansen’s Japanese Maple’, a tree we see every day gracing our front lawn. I would encourage you to support any effort at tree planting, whether it’s with a national or international group, or more locally with “Trees for Tomorrow.
As Trees for Tomorrow’s website says in a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”