Route 80 Trees: "You Dont' Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone"

Otto Schaefer of the North Branford Land Conservation Trust weighs in on Route 80's new look, the importance of open space and how you can help the organization.

“You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” The theme from the song "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell is as relevant for shade trees, forests and open space in our town as it was in 1970 when she wrote the song. 

Now that the trees and forests in our town are fully clothed in foliage, we begin to appreciate the benefits they provide. Forest trees, for instance, hold soil in place during unusually heavy rain storms, especially on steep slopes. Forest and shade trees also modify high temperatures by transpiring moisture into the atmosphere through tiny pores or stomata in their leaves.

Until recently, people overlooked the function of trees in their capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into carbon, locking it up for a long period of time as wood. When summer comes to a close and cold nights and the bright, crisp cool days of autumn prevail, we all enjoy the colorful displays of tree foliage.

We take other benefits of trees for granted: like comforting shade for hot summer days, screening of conflicting land uses and softening the visual impact of stark but necessary things such as utility poles, cables and lines. Trees go unappreciated until they suddenly vanish.

Although we thought that comes with , the even to this “old timer,” a resident of town since 1960. Unsightly utility poles laden with wires and cables now stand against a .

Yes, they will be relocated and new trees will be planted where it is possible to do so. But the landscape of yesterday is gone forever. We understand that growth must be accommodated and sometimes the only way is by making a drastic change to an old familiar landscape. But at the same time, we need to renew our appreciation of trees and forests. Both are equally important features of our community’s landscape.

We need to protect what we have left. Protecting open space, trees and forests in our town is the ultimate goal of the North Branford Land Conservation Trust.

Please stop by our booth at this year’s that will be held . Members will be on hand to tell you more about us and answer your questions. We hope you too will see the value of our organization and what it hopes to accomplish. They will encourage you to become a member, helping us to protect our town’s open space. By doing so, you will help provide a legacy for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Cathy Johnson July 22, 2012 at 08:13 AM
It is disgraceful what has happened to North Branford just so those in Madison and Guilford can soar thru instead of using I-95. Those towns have greens in their communities and I am sure they would NEVER be altered. North Branford had lost its quaintness and character. It is just one big strip mall like Route 80 in East Haven although even East Haven had a green. It's a terrible shame.


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