Sometimes it's hard to put words to the experience of a day spent among trees — and on those occasions, it's helpful to turn to the words of others. This week we've compiled the most meaningful quotes about trees, forests, and environmentalism from folks who care greatly about protecting the Earth. Their words are powerful reminders of our responsibility to our planet.

Explore this quotes and share them far and wide — whether you're seeking out a great Instagram caption, a way to celebrate Arbor Day, or just want to remind people that caring for nature matters.

Also: At Good Good Good we're all about celebrating good news. Make sure you check out our collection of the best good news about trees.

Dive into these inspirational tree quotes —

Popular Quotes

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
— Nelson Henderson

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” — Nelson Henderson

“Ancient trees are precious. There is little else on Earth that plays host to such a rich community of life within a single living organism.”
— Sir David Attenborough

“Ancient trees are precious. There is little else on Earth that plays host to such a rich community of life within a single living organism.” — Sir David Attenborough

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.”
— Alice Walker

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful.” — Alice Walker

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility.”
— Wendell Berry

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility.” — Wendell Berry

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
— Chinese Proverb

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese proverb

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
— Kahlil Gebran

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” — Kahlil Gebran

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.”
— Washington Irving

“There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.” — Washington Irving‍

“To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.”
— Richard Mabey

“To be without trees would, in the most literal way, to be without our roots.” — Richard Mabey

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”
— Albert Schweitzer

“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.” — Albert Schweitzer

Tree Planting Quotes

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
— Martin Luther

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” — Martin Luther

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
— Warren Buffett

“On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree.”
— W.S. Merwin

“On the last day of the world I would want to plant a tree.” — W.S. Merwin

“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a shovel.”
— Aldo Leopold

“He that plants trees, loves others besides himself.”
— Thomas Fuller

“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking.”
— Wangari Maathai

“Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking.” — Wangari Maathai

On Protecting Trees

“These young people are saying we all have a right to know what is in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and the food we eat. It is our responsibility to leave this planet cleaner and greener. That must be our legacy.”
— John Lewis

“These young people are saying we all have a right to know what is in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and the food we eat. It is our responsibility to leave this planet cleaner and greener. That must be our legacy.” — John Lewis

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

“When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.”
— Alanis Obomsawin, Indigenous filmmaker

“Together we can preserve the forest, securing this immense treasure for the future of all these our children.”
— Chico Mendes

“Together we can preserve the forest, securing this immense treasure for the future of all these our children.” — Chico Mendes

“If we lose the forests, we lose our only teachers.”
— Bill Mollison

“When trees burn, they leave the smell of heartbreak in the air.”
— Jodi Thomas

“We need to protect our forests to protect all of life.”
— Samantha Lynch

“A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

“A grove of giant redwoods or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great or beautiful cathedral.” — Theodore Roosevelt

On Life & Being Like a Tree

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
— Chris Maser

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” — Chris Maser

“I feel a great regard for trees; they represent age and beauty and the miracles of life and growth.”
— Louise Dickinson Rich

“Deep down, at the molecular heart of life, the trees, and we are essentially identical.”
— Carl Sagan

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.”
— Hal Borland

“Trees are as close to immortality as the rest of us ever come.”
— Karen Joy Fowler

“This oak tree and me, we're made of the same stuff.”
— Carl Sagan

“Be like a tree. The tree gives shade even to him who cuts off its boughs.”
— Sri Chaitanya

“Be as useful as a tree! Give life to others; be shelter to everyone; grant fruits to all! Be good like a tree!”
Mehmet Murat Ildan

“Be as useful as a tree! Give life to others; be shelter to everyone; grant fruits to all! Be good like a tree!” — Mehmet Murat Ildan

“Learn character from trees, values from roots, and change from leaves”
— Tasneern Harneed

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.”
— Bob Ross

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” — Bob Ross

Quotes About Forests & the Woods

“Finland is officially the world’s happiest country. It is also 75 per cent forest. I believe these facts are related.”
Matt Haig

“Finland is officially the world’s happiest country. It is also 75 per cent forest. I believe these facts are related.” — Matt Haig

“I found far more answers in the woods than I ever did in the city.”
— Mary Davis

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”
— Henry David Thoreau

“Forests were the first temples of the divinity, and it is in the forests that men have grasped the first idea of architecture.”
— Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand

“Forests were the first temples of the divinity, and it is in the forests that men have grasped the first idea of architecture.” — Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand

“Forests are like churches, hallowed places. There’s a stillness about them, a sort of reverence.”
— Sabrina Elkins

”There is always an adventure waiting in the woods.”
— Katelyn S. Bolds

“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”
— John Fowles

“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.” — John Fowles

From John Muir

John Muir played a significant role in conservation efforts in Yosemite Valley and in protecting Sequoia National Park's iconic trees. While his iconic quotes about the great outdoors have become ubiquitous in the world of hiking, camping, and the American wilderness, more attention has recently been given to some of his other words, namely his racist remarks and views. In recent years, the organization Muir founded, The Sierra Club, has condemned him for the racist comments he made about Black and Indigenous people.

If you're currently researching quotes about trees and the outdoors, we encourage you to think twice about using John Muir quotes — or consider also including quotes from Black and Indigenous environmentalists. (You can find more in our roundup of Earth Day quotes.) The outdoors has no place for racism and xenophobia — and we all have a role to play, as intersectional environmentalists, to care for all people as we celebrate nature.

“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”
— John Muir

“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” — John Muir

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”
— John Muir

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
— John Muir

“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
— John Muir

“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
— John Muir

“Going to the woods is going home.”
— John Muir

“Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.”
— John Muir

“Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.” — John Muir

Tree Hugging Quotes

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”
— Chad Sugg

“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.” — Chad Sugg

“If you would know strength and patience, welcome the company of trees.”
— Hal Borland

“The trees will tell their secrets to those that tune in.”
— Steven Magee

“The trees will tell their secrets to those that tune in.” — Steven Magee‍

On Loving & Learning From Trees

“Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
— Herman Hesse

“Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” — Herman Hesse

“Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.”
— Munia Khan

“Trees do not preach learning and precepts. They preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
— Herman Hesse

“In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.”
— Paulo Coelho

“Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.”
— Victor Hugo

“Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.” — Victor Hugo

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.”
— Herman Hesse

“Trees give peace to the souls of men.”
— Nora Waln

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson

“We can learn a lot from the forests, regrowth, change, and beauty.”
— Catherine Pulsifer

“But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”
— Alan Watts

“But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” — Alan Watts

More Quotes for Instagram Captions & Whatever Else

“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.”
— Santosh Kalwar

“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.” — Santosh Kalwar

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”
— Shira Tamir

“The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Of all man’s works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.”
— Henry Ward Beecher

“Of all man’s works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.” — Henry Ward Beecher

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
— Hal Borland

“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”
— George Washington Carver

“The way you would draw a tree is different from the way anyone else would draw a tree — and that’s the way it’s supposed to be!”
Fred Rogers

“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.”
— Lucy Larcom

“He who plants a tree, plants a hope.” — Lucy Larcom

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.”
— Katrina Mayer

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time.” — Katrina Mayer

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
— Henry David Thoreau

“It is astonishing how ideas can change an experience. How we can be in a beautiful forest, on a hike through verdant beauty, but if someone told us that the forest was the site of a brutal massacre, the entire hike would be transformed. It would turn ominous and sad. Or if I was told the forest was where Walk Whitman had walked every morning before working on "Leaves of Grass," the place would take on a holy majesty. Same forest. Same trail and trees. But the idea layered on top of it mutates it, glorifies or damns it.”
Jedidiah Jenkins, To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, 'This is what it is to be happy.”
— Sylvia Plath

“When we walk into a grove of trees or under an open sky the magic of nature takes over and the heaviness of life lifts a little.”
— Natassia Cassinero

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
— Martin Luther

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.” — Martin Luther‍