They come in pastel colors and are exotic wonders from the East.  Native to Japan, they are called sakura.  In the United States, these wonders of nature are called cherry blossoms.  At Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey and in Belleville, people come from far and wide to see the trees that look as if they came from paradise. In fact, Branch Brook Park has the largest selection of cherry blossoms in the United States.  They take many photos of the cherry blossoms, which provide the backdrop for the perfect family photo.  At Branch Brook Park, there is an array of 4,300 cherry blossoms.  When the cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, approximately 10,000 visitors come to see them.

More than just beautiful trees, cherry blossoms help to salvage the Earth.  Trees purify the air we breathe and help offset the effects of global warming.  With recent hurricanes such as Harvey and Irma, we know that climate change is already here.  These storms have always occurred, but now they are more massive and destructive than ever before.  Having more green spaces helps to cool down the Earth’s temperature thus preventing even more damage from climate change.  We need to plant more trees around our cities and towns more than ever before.

This pink cherry blossom at Branch Brook Park is a site to behold. [Image by Lucy Santos]
This pink cherry blossom at Branch Brook Park is a site to behold. [Image by Lucy Santos]

Not only are trees good for our planet, they improve our quality of life.  Trees reduce air pollution.  Children who live in the suburbs, where there are many trees, have less cases of asthma.  According to news reports, there is an alarming epidemic of childhood asthma in the inner cities where there are less trees.  Since the hustle-bustle of city life can be stressful, green open spaces with trees help us unwind.

Even before global warming, the Japanese people showed great wisdom by making cherry blossoms a part of their culture.  The cherry blossom, a tree revered throughout Japan, is the nation’s national flower.  For generation, the Japanese have practiced “Havami,” which is picnicking under a blooming sakura.  In the Havami festival, they celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

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Honoring nature so much, the Japanese have blossoms outside of many schools and public buildings.  As an integral part of their culture, the Japanese include blossoms in all of their merchandise such as kimonos, stationery and giftware.  They even make tasty dishes using the blossoms and their leaves.

This white cherry blossom tree is an unusual beauty. [Image by Lucy Santos]
This white cherry blossom tree is an unusual beauty. [Image by Lucy Santos]

For the Japanese, the cultural significance of the cherry blossoms is vast.  They define the blossoms as signifying the ephemeral nature of life.  Even though the blossoms are beautiful, they do not last long.  Looking at the blossoms teaches us to cherish each moment in our lives, for that time will not return.

As Americans, we truly need to follow the wonderful example of the Japanese and honor nature more.  In fact, every structure in America should have a tree.  Imagine how our quality of life would drastically improve if there were more trees.  A cherry blossoms outside of every business, public building and school would beautify America and help our planet heal.

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Some magnates have always been environmentally responsible.  Caroline Bamberger Fuld was a tycoon who truly cared about the Earth.  As a highly successful businesswoman, Fuld was one of the founders of L. Bamberger and Co.  She became a philanthropist who helped make the world a better place.  One of the legacies that she left to future generations was a gift of nature.  Fuld donated the cherry blossoms to Branch Brook Park in 1927.

Fuld’s gift of nature is a lasting one that has helped improve the standard of life of Newarkers as well as the residents of Belleville.  Since trees make the Earth cleaner, they are the best gift for future generations.  In addition to donating the blossoms at Branch Brook Park, she also contributed to Newark’s Beth Israel Hospital as well as many other charities.

In this time of global warming, we need more benefactors like Fuld who will donate trees to make our land cleaner.  We only have a few green spaces in our cities.  If we create more wide open spaces, we would all lead healthier lives and help the environment.  Unfortunately, there are many dark places in our metropolises such as empty lots.  These spots should be filled with trees and greenery, so that they become beautiful.  Planting trees in these gloomy areas will help reduce crimes in our urban areas.

If you have ever visited Branch Brook Park, then you understand how this vast green space helps our environment.   You know that the park improves the quality of air in the city.  When you go to Branch Brook Park, you will see many breathtaking sites besides the cherry blossoms. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart Basilica, a historic site, the largest cathedral in the United States, looks even more spectacular with the backdrop of the cherry blossoms.

Long after the blossoms have stopped blooming, they are still helping our planet by cooling down the temperature.  These lovely trees clean the air that we breathe ridding it of impurities.  The blossoms also provide shelter for birds and many other types of wildlife.  Branch Brook Park is a place of relaxation and a spot of recreation where you can play sports.

Not only do the blossoms look glorious in the spring, they also look striking during every season.  In the winter, they look mysterious surrounded by the snow. During the summer, they have lively green leaves.  In the fall, these trees are just as magical as in the spring.

In fiery orange colors, these cherry blossoms at Branch Brook Park look striking.
In fiery orange colors, these cherry blossoms at Branch Brook Park look striking. [Image by Lucy Santos]

When the leaves of the blossoms turn into colors of red and orange, they look fiery.  Visitors should also come to see them in the Autumn, for they are a site to behold.  As the wind blows, the colorful leaves of the blossoms whirl in the air creating a delightful show of color.  Just like in the spring, you will feel utter happiness when you come to Cherryblossomland in the fall.

Unfortunately, global warming is already here, and it cannot be reversed.  However, planting many more trees will help decrease the destructive effects of climate change.  As environmentally responsible citizens, we should plant more cherry blossoms as well as other trees, so that the next generation will live in a beautiful and cleaner world.