By Jacob Wycoff

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s National Arbor Day, celebrated every year on the last Friday in April.

Arbor Day was created back in 1872 in Nebraska, and by the 1920’s, every state had some sort of observance for the tree holiday.

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Trees help curb climate change by directly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, the trees in Boston absorb more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road!

It’s not just carbon dioxide — 247 million pounds of air pollution is absorbed by leaves, helping to reduce asthma and throat irritation.

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First lady Dr. Jill Biden participates in a tree planting ceremony at the White House on Arbor Day, April 30, 2021. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

And as inland flooding becomes more of a threat in a warmer climate, trees play a crucial role in catching rain water with more permeable soil. In Boston alone, trees have prevented enough storm run off to fill more than 24,000 Olympic-sized pools.

Finally, where there are trees, there is usually shade. Trees reduce the urban heat island effect caused by cement and asphalt-trapping warmth. This helps lower air conditioning needs by up to 30%.

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Who said money doesn’t grow on trees?

Jacob Wycoff