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Sequoia Sent to Idaho by John Muir Will Be Uprooted and Moved Two Blocks

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Around 1912, naturalist/explorer/national parks advocate John Muir sent four sequoia seedlings to a forester friend in Boise, Idaho. Only one of those trees still remains in the city today, and after standing in the same spot for a century, it’s about to get a change of scenery.

As the Associated Press reports, St. Luke’s Health System is spending $300,000 to move the sequoia two blocks away to make room for the expansion of a hospital. Weighing 800,000 pounds and towering 10 stories above the ground, the workers tasked with moving the tree have their work cut out for them. The relocation project will start the afternoon of Friday, June 23 with the tree company lifting the six-foot thick trunk from the ground and placing it onto a rig of inflatable, rolling tubes. The tree will begin its two-block journey at midnight Saturday and is expected to arrive at its new home on city property 12 hours later.

The company has never transported a tree this size, but they estimate their chances of success to be 95 percent. If the tree doesn’t survive the trip, the city will lose a piece of its history. St. Luke’s realized this when laying out their construction plans—hospital spokeswoman Anita Kissée told the AP that cutting it down “was never an option.”

While sequoias have evolved to withstand fire and disease, laying down roots in a new place is sure to put stress on the behemoth. The relocation crew plans to transplant the soil currently supporting the roots as well to increase the tree's likelihood of surviving for centuries to come.

[h/t AP]

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Health
Watch a Tree Release a Massive "Pollen Bomb" Into the Air
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In case your itchy, watery eyes hadn't already tipped you off, spring is in the air. Some trees release up to a billion pollen grains apiece each year, and instead of turning into baby trees, many of those spores end up in the noses of allergy sufferers. For a visual of just how much pollen is being released into our backyards, check out the video below spotted by Gothamist.

This footage was captured by Millville, New Jersey resident Jennifer Henderson while her husband was clearing away brush with a backhoe. He noticed one tree was blanketed in pollen, and decided to bump into it to see what would happen. The result was an explosion of plant matter dramatic enough to make you sniffle just by looking at it.

"Pollen bombs" occur when the weather starts to warm up after a prolonged winter, prompting trees and grasses to suddenly release a high concentration of pollen in a short time span. Wind, temperature, and humidity levels all determine the air's pollen count for any given day, but allergy season settles down around May.

After determining that your congestion is the result of allergies and not a head cold, there are a few steps you can take to stave off symptoms before they appear. Keep track of your area's pollen report throughout the week, and treat yourself with antihistamines or nasal spray on days when you know it will be particularly bad outside. You can also keep your home a pollen-free zone by closing all the windows and investing in an air purifier. Check out our full list of seasonal allergy-fighting tips here.

[h/t Gothamist]

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environment
The UK Wants to Ban Wet Wipes, And Parents Aren't Happy About It
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The United Kingdom has grown determined in recent years to reduce consumption of single-use products that pollute the environment. In April, fast food restaurant fans were dismayed to hear that plastic drinking straws are being phased out; plastic cotton swabs are also on the chopping block. Now, users of wet wipes that remove makeup and clean infant bottoms are looking at a future where reaching for one of the disposable cloths may not be so easy.

The BBC reports that wet wipes containing non-biodegradable plastic are being targeted for elimination in the coming years. The wipes contribute to “fatbergs,” giant impactions of waste that can slow or block movement in sewage systems. By some estimates, 93 percent of blockages are caused by consumers flushing the wet wipes into toilets despite package instructions to throw them in the garbage.

Not everyone is backing the move, however. Jeremy Freedman, who manufactures the wipes under the name Guardpack, says that the wipes are useful to health care workers and food preparation employees. He argues their use also conserves water normally reserved for handwashing.

The most vocal critics might be parents, who use the wipes to clean their baby’s bottom following a diaper change. Sentiments like “ban the fools that flush them!” are circulating on Twitter. The UK is looking to phase out the wipes and other problematic plastic products over the next 25 years.

[h/t BBC]

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