People in Melbourne, Australia, have found a new way to show their appreciation for the city’s flora: They’re writing love letters to their favorite trees.
As part of a recent project designed to allow residents to contact the city with specific arboreal issues, like broken branches or signs of disease, each tree in Melbourne was assigned an ID number and an email address. But instead of the terse missives on hazardous conditions expected, city officials soon began fielding personal correspondence addressed to beloved local trees.
Residents have taken the time to tell their favorite trees things like “You are the gift that keeps on giving.” Among the bevy of adoring messages directed at municipal plantings, some people have written specific trees to ask things like “do trees have gender?” or even “should Greece be allowed to stay in the European Union?” What’s more, the trees (well, city officials) respond, even if the query is tongue-in-cheek. (Trees are both male and female, in case you were wondering.)
The program gives people the space to develop personal relationships with their local greenery, and, by extension, city government. If you’ve received a thoughtful reply to your expression of adoration for a tree’s leafy embrace, you’re probably more likely to participate in city efforts to keep the tree population healthy.
[h/t: The Atlantic]