Arbor Day: West Virginia
Final Four 2009
(Photo courtesy of Clifford Salyer II)
|Happy Arbor Day, West Virginia!
West Virginia, home to at least one silo tree, celebrates its Arbor Day the second Friday of April, so Happy Arbor Day West Virginia!
After a vote done by civic organizations and public school students, West Virginia selected the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) as its State Tree in 1949.
Sugar Maple is a source of delicious maple syrup, but today I’m going to highlight another use of the tree– sports flooring. Sugar Maple’s traction and flexibility has made it the sports floor of choice for over a century. Nalini Nadkarni explains in her book Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees:
It is close grained, hard fibered, and free from slivering and splintering, characteristics that help reduce the incidence of injuries.
Nadkarni goes on to share a study on handball players which indicates that athletes have a much lower risk of injury playing on wooden floors as opposed to artificial flooring. It should be no surprise then that the species has remained as popular as it is. In 1997, the U.S. alone installed nearly 23 million square feet of maple sports flooring.
|Twelve years later in 2009, the wood is still coveted. In fact, a very high profile maple floor was installed in Detroit, Michigan a little more than two weeks ago. Made by Horner Flooring, the floor for this year’s Final Four…Sugar Maple.||
Final Four Floor 2009
(Photo courtesy of Ty Hardaway)