Love of Trees and Animals Inspires Member to Remember Arbor Day Foundation
Mary Jo Schumacher
Retired second-grade teacher and Foundation member Mary Jo Schumacher once thought about returning to school to study biology. Instead, she applied those resources to traveling the world and studying in its greatest classrooms before returning to her home in Prescott, Arizona.
Mary Jo’s love of animals fits in with her “insatiable desire to see the world.” And she has a lot of respect for the role trees play in their habitats.
In Tanzania, the wide range of wildlife and impressive baobab trees delighted Mary Jo. “But, when man infringes on the animals’ space, that limits their food sources,” she shares.
The stripping of all the natural forest on Madagascar’s island of Nosy Komba concerns her. “Burning these great expanses has driven lemurs away because they have no trees to climb.”
Mary Jo discovered plant and animal life in Peru and Costa Rica she could never see in the United States. The Amazon rain forest’s strangler fig tree grows on a host tree, eventually overpowering it. And the quetzal, a bird with iridescent plumage that lives in tall trees in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, is at risk because of logging.
Mary Jo’s stories also include finches on the Galapagos Islands, staying in touch with students, and future plans involving nature. Her love of the natural world has led her to leave a portion of her estate to the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees are essential to the animals that share our world. It’s important to take care of them.”