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Woodworker mesmerizes millions by crafting a US map out of each state's official tree

Justin Davies has awakened a deep, latent fascination with trees people didn't even know they had.

trees, wood, woodworking, justin davies

Justin Davies shares his official state tree U.S. map woodworking project on TikTok.

Did you know that there are around 73,000 species of trees in the world?

Most of us go about our days surrounded by trees that just sort of sit in the background of our lives, quietly providing beauty, shade, oxygen, a home for wildlife and more, without us giving them a whole lot of thought.

But it appears that a whole bunch of us have a deep, latent fascination with trees and wood, based on how people have responded to Justin Davies' unique state tree U.S. map project. Davies, who goes by @justinthetrees on TikTok, has spent months crafting a stunning wall map of the U.S. using wood from the official tree of each state, and he has gained more than a million followers doing it.


Davies tells Upworthy the map idea was one he'd held onto for years, ever since a run on a trail sparked his interest in woodworking.

"While out on a trail run I noticed a tree I'd probably passed thousands of times without really noticing it," he says, "and was struck by how little I knew about it. Didn't know what kind of tree it was, didn't even know its name. And I spend a lot of time out in the wilderness out here in Utah, so it made me just feel really disconnected from the natural places that surround me.

"So I got home and just started digging online until I found the type of tree it was, and I was kinda blown away by how fascinating I found everything I discovered. The properties of the tree, where it grows, its many traditional indigenous uses, and one of the big things was that I just really wanted to know what its wood looked like."

Davies' curiosity led him down a creative path that eventually moved him away from a 12-year marketing career and toward creating content focused on trees. Oddly enough, it's been a great move.

"When I meet new people and tell them I make content about trees, I often get a response like, 'Trees? Really??' with a raised eyebrow, implying I've never thought about trees before in my life, that sounds boring," he says. "But you very quickly discover that it takes almost nothing to help people realize they do find trees to be fascinating. Everyone has a tree they love from their childhood. Everyone has types of trees that make them feel at home. So it's been fun to see that kind of response happen at such a massive scale."

Davies spent around eight months creating his official state tree map, making a video for each piece in which he shares scientific and historical information about each tree, how Indigenous peoples have used them and interesting anecdotes about them. As it progressed, the map project morphed into a community endeavor, with people from all over the country sending him pieces of the kinds of wood he needed from each state to complete it.

Here is Davies sharing the finished map, which is the best place to start. This video offers a glimpse of the work and community support that went into this project, as well as Davies' genuine likability that keeps people coming back.

@justinthetrees

Thanks for making this project possible! You’re the best #trees #statetreemap #thankyou

As Davies said, he isn't actually done. He has also made different countries and Canadian provinces out of native wood, and has started making a whole new larger U.S. map for his followers on YouTube (since the vertical format for video on TikTok isn't really compatible with YouTube).

And to get a taste of what's caused millions of people to tune in each time he revealed a new state, here's the video from the final state he made, Missouri.

@justinthetrees

Reply to @eawilliams1s get to know a state tree: Missouri’s flowering dogwood #trees #woodworking #missouri #statetreemap #learnontiktok #dogwood

Check out Georgia, which attracted nearly 13 million viewers:

@justinthetrees

Reply to @djunamars get to know a state tree: Georgia’s Southern Live Oak #trees #woodworking #georgia #learnontiktok #map #liveoak #statetreemap

And how about Florida, whose official tree is only kind of, sort of a tree (same goes for South Carolina, whose state tree is also a palmetto):

@justinthetrees

Reply to @draphra get to know a state tree: Florida’s Sabal Palm #trees #woodworking #florida #learnontiktok #statetreemap #palmetto

Davies shares that his love of trees goes beyond just their beauty. There's something about trees native to where we live that tap into something primal within us.

"I find them absolutely fascinating, of course. I think they're beautiful, of course. But also from a practical sense, we wouldn't be anywhere without them. We need them to build our homes, to heat our homes, to make furniture, food, the games we play, the art we admire. But ultimately for me, what I love the most is the way different types of native trees and forests have the power to evoke something so personal for different people.

"For me, a large, twisted Utah juniper instantly makes me feel at peace and at home. Same goes for the color of the dancing light coming through the canopy of a quaking aspen grove. I can hear and see and smell those forests and trees that are native to the wild places in my home and they give me something so much different than, say, the exotic beauty of a forest of old-growth redwoods or a cypress swamp. And what I love is how someone from those places will feel entirely the opposite."

Part of what makes Davies' videos so engaging is that he really connects with his audience. Check out how he taps into the psyches of his viewers who were incredibly bothered by the empty space where Nevada was supposed to go before he made the piece.

@justinthetrees

I love you all, send me some bristlecone pine wood if you find some lol #statetreemap #woodworking #trees #map

Davies is thrilled with how people of all ages have responded to his videos. He says he gets sent pictures of things kids made in shop class inspired by his work and messages from viewers who say they didn't care at all about trees before, but who now find themselves out for walks with friends and pointing out things about different tree species. "That kind of stuff is just absolutely amazing," says Davies.

Seriously, who knew trees were so fascinating?

There's something so pure about watching someone do woodworking, but adding an interesting educational element and a true love for trees makes it all the more satisfying. You can follow Justin Davies on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

P.S. If you really want to watch every state video from the TikTok U.S. map project, he compiled them all here on YouTube:

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

There was a time when every other girl was named Ashley. That time has ended.

As we know, baby name trends are constantly changing. One generation’s Barbara is another generation’s Bethany. But it doesn’t make it any less odd when you suddenly realize that your very own name has suddenly made it into the “old and unhip” pile. And for many of us 80s babies…that time is now.

In a now-viral TikTok post, baby name consultant Colleen Slagen went through the top 100 girl names from 1986 to find which ones “did not age well” and were no longer ranked top 1,000 today. Such a descent from popularity would mark them as what she calls “timestamp names.”

Spoiler alert: what might be even more surprising than the names now considered old school are the names that are still going strong.


The first name that Slagen says is “officially out” is Heather. That’s right, not even cult movie fame could help it keep its ranking.

via GIPHY

Other extinct names include Erica, Courtney, Lindsay, Tara, Crystal, Shannon, Brandy and Dana. Tiffany, Brittany and Casey are also heading very much in that direction.

“My name is Brandy. The Gen Z hostess at Olive Garden told me that she’d never heard my name before and it was so unique,” one viewer wrote.

However, Andrea ranks “surprisingly high,” and Jessica, Ashley and Stephanie have survived…so far.

Gobsmacked, one person asked “How is Stephanie still in there? I don’t think I’ve met a Stephanie younger than myself at 34.”

But the biggest holdout still belongs to Jennifer. “She was a top 100 name all the way up until 2008. Round of applause for Jennifer,” Slagen says in the clip.

@namingbebe Sorry Lindsay, Heather, and Courtney. #babynames #nametok #nameconsultant #girlnames #80skid #1986 #nametrend ♬ original sound - Colleen

If your name has found its way into relic of a bygone era status, fret not. Slagen, whose name also ranks out of the top 1000, assures it just means “we are creatures of the 80's.”

Of course, while we still have baby names that become incredibly common for extended periods of time (looking at you, little Liam and Olivia), the real contemporary trend is going for uniqueness. As an article in The Atlantic notes, for most of American history families tended to name their children after a previous family member, with the goal of blending in, rather than standing out. But now, things have changed.

Laura Wattenberg, the founder of Namerology, told the outlet that “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”

But again, even with a keen eye on individualism, patterns pop up. “The same thing we see in fashion trend cycles, we see in names,” Jessie Paquette, another professional baby namer, told Vox. “We’re seeing Eleanor, Maude, Edith—cool-girl grandma names.”

So who knows…give it time (or maybe just a pop song) and one of these 80s names could make a comeback.

Married couple looking out into a forest

We all know on some level that no marriage is without its issues. But in this highlight-reel-only modern day existence, it can be easy to feel like every other couple is completely squabble-free.

So, in case you need a reminder that every marriage does, in fact, have its problems, and the research to prove this doesn’t cut it—read on.

A Redditor recently asked happily married couples: “What are some serious issues that have plagued your otherwise great relationship?

As you can guess, these happy couples still had conflict around common subjects like money, intimacy, and communication. But even with their issues, these partners still consider their relationships as healthy. That's saying something.

Here are 12 “serious issues” that even happy marriages continue to face:


1.“Neither of us have many friends so we rely on each other to meet too many of our needs”. -howyafeelin

couples

Solemn looking couple.

Photo credit: Canva

“I feel like people who say “oh but that’s okay because your spouse should be all you need” don’t understand how much pressure that puts on both partners. No one person can or should be your everything.” -Square-Raspberry560

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, we have…

2. “Not enough time for ourselves.We both have big families and friend circles. If we are not seeing my friends, we are seeing her friends. If we are not seeing her family, we are seeing my family.This is on top of working long hours and being fairly introverted to boot.We have to schedule dates and ‘alone time’ so we can recover.Honestly, I couldn't imagine managing all this with anyone else and I am so thankful for her.” -Shahfluffers

3. “The hardest things have ever been for us was when we let others dictate our relationship. My mom was always an enemy of our relationship, and her sister was always against us. As soon as we stopped letting them have opinions on us, our lives became infinitely better.-TitularFoil

in-laws, mil

Woman ignoring her in-laws

Photo credit: Canva

4. “No longer a pain point, but is a good reminder: just talk, don’t internalize your stresses/fears/etc. All that happens when you hold things in is that vacuum is filled with assumptions that benefit neither you or your spouse.” -Avamedic

This!! I suffered a panic attack 2 weeks ago because I was keeping everything inside me. Once I told my wife everything I had in my head, suddenly it felt really silly that I was keeping it inside. Should have talked more from the beginning.” -MikePap

5. "Different sex drives.”-quivalent-Ad844

different sex drives in couples

Couple in bed

Photo credit: Canva

“Yep -I've experienced both being the partner with a lower sex drive and, more recently, being the one with the higher sex drive.Both were extremely difficult on our relationship and have been some of the most vulnerable and sensitive times for either of us.” -Rubinovyy17

6. "Kids put an incredible amount of stress on a relationship.” -inkyblinkypinkysue

parenting styles

Parents having a talk with their child.

Photo credit: Canva

“Parenting styles I feel like is something that is never discussed. It’s always “do you want kids?” It’s never “how do you plan on handling xyz when it comes to kids”. I’m currently trying to navigate this with my husband. I have to constantly be the bad cop because he will cave to the meltdown which requires me to do double duty trying to undo any enabling. It’s exhausting at times.” -ZolaMonster


7. “My husband has a serious phone addiction. He’s always on it, whether it’s in the bathroom, to in bed, movie night just the two of us, during meals. We can’t even eat out without him having to check his phone (for social reasons, not even work related reasons). I’ve discussed this with him multiple times and it’s in one ear out the other.” -ieatnoodlesw_sticks

phone addiction

Man with cellphone

Photo credit: Canva

8. “Holidays. My wife's parents are divorced so we have 3 different families we're trying to please PLUS our own. So basically whenever Christmas comes around, we need to find time to celebrate for ourself, my parents/siblings, her dad, her mom/grandma. It's such a pain having to schedule early holidays and traveling all over the state to visit everyone.” -AFunkinDiscoBall


9. “Money money money money MONEY....MONEEEEYYYYYYYYY.” -JnyBlkLabel

money management for couples

Couple with bills

Photo credit: Canva


“For us, not just money itself, but differences in attitudes toward it. We were raised differently and value it differently. We're in agreement that neither of our viewpoints/attitudes is inherently right or wrong (regarding money or any of the other ways we were raised differently), but it does cause tension. I'm more of a saver and she's more of a spender, which causes conflict especially when I'm the higher earner. Sure, I like shiny things too, but I also like my money to buy security and early retirement. I think there's a happy medium somewhere.” -PoisonWaffle3

10.“Endometriosis. My wife had stage 4 Endo, which seriously affected her mood, my mood, our sex life, intimacy, and countless other small things. She had her first surgery in 2015. That helped for 8 months but it slowly came back. She then went UNDER for her second surgery in 2021 they got in there and realized it was too serious for this specific doctor (it covered her bladder, bowels, and other major organs). So she had to go through the recovery of a surgery while not actually getting any benefit. She was then referred to a specialist doctor, one of Canadas best. But the wait time was 1.5 years.We hung on…and went through some rough times….But she finally had her surgery in June 2023, a full hysterectomy, and total cleanout of endometriosis…..and she’s feeling incredible! Endometriosis is awful. She was such a trooper, and we are now doing incredible. :)” -ActivE__

marriage

Woman with endometriosis

Photo credit: Canva

11.“Stubbornness. You CANNOT be stubborn in a marriage. You must be able to give, take, be self aware of your giving and taking, and be able to communicate about the nature of each others gives and takes.” -rippa76

12. “Deciding what the heck is for dinner every night !” -Main-Jelly-8589

Bottom line: though of course being able to navigate conflict is integral to every successful marriage, avoiding it entirely is impossible. So if you and your significant other can never seem to "get over" that one nagging problem…you're not alone. And you're not doomed.

Joy

Shelter dog doesn't know what to do with her first toy but melts when offered affection

The stray pup's smelly, itchy skin condition didn't stop Rocky Kanaka from scooping the sweet girl into his arms.

Rocky Kanaka/YouTube (used with permission)

Katie's had a rough life so far, but she's starting to get the care she needs.

When Rocky Kanaka first met Katie, a scruffy beige Australian Shepherd mix, he thought she was a senior dog. As it turned out, the shelter pup was only about a year old. She had just been found by a good samaritan as a stray, her fur and skin in terrible shape, her paws swollen and her spirit muted. She didn't even want to look at Kanaka when he first entered the kennel to sit with her.

That all changed as he took the time to sit with her and earn her trust. Kanaka has gained a huge following on YouTube with his videos sitting with shelter dogs, and his way with them is truly inspiring. He brings his own home-baked treats and a huge amount of patience and compassion, helping abandoned animals learn that humans can be kind and caring companions.

Katie is one of many dogs Kanaka has visited, and her behavior in the kennel showed him that she hadn't had much of a chance in her short life to learn how to be a dog.


For instance, when Kanaka offered her a stuffed unicorn to play with, she didn't know what to do with it. He tried a squeaky toy, which she also didn't know what to do with and found overwhelming after a few squeaks. She took Kanaka's treats, but not immediately and not in the way a dog who understands the concept of treats would.

But throughout the video, the stray pup responded to Kanaka's affection and love by melting right into it. She even wanted to sit in his lap toward the end, but didn't seem to know how. Kanaka scooped her up, despite the foul smell her skin condition created, and it's clear that this pupper just loves being loved.

Watch:

It's hard for animals with obvious health issues, especially something as visible as a skin condition that makes them look and smell bad, to attract people looking to adopt. But by taking half an hour to get to know her, Kanaka helped us all look past all that and see Katie's sweet spirit shine through.

So many people fell in head over heels for Katie through this video:

"OMG, The person who gets her will have the best dog as she is so obviously starved for affection and so willing to give it back ten fold."

"That dog doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body. she was instantly ready for you to pet her."

"Her little tail wag broke my heart for what’s she’s been through but also lifted my spirits that she has a strength to survive and become a loved family member."

"It's shocking how neglected she looks but her desire to be loved is so strong. She's going to bring such joy to her forever home."

"I consider myself somewhat of a tough guy.... I'm from the streets, had a crazy hard life, i did 9 yrs in prison, seen it all, done it all and ain't scared of nothing... I'm telling you that because in spite all that, when i see videos like this, i start crying like a 5 yr old girl...Goes to show you that what life has done to them, we can relate, and we see it in animals that have been hurt by others and part if me wants to knock out someone that would hurt a dog or kitty like that. Animals bring out the love and compassion we've forgotten because we know they're teaching us what we definitely need to learn. What is truly considered, unconditional love...."

Rocky Kanaka's work with dogs is both inspiring and informative, and he's succeeded in helping so many dogs find forever homes instead of languishing in shelters because they don't make the best first impression. Not long after this video aired, Katie was rescued and will hopefully continue to get the tender care and kindness she deserves.

Follow Katie's journey on Kanaka's website here. You can also follow Rocky Kanaka's channels on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

What a sweet and simple idea.

As far as handmade Mother’s Day gifts go, this might be the sweetest idea ever.

To celebrate mom’s first Mother’s Day ever, a newborn named Olivia and her Golden Retriever Lady created a painting using blackberries for “ink.”

A video posted to their TikTok account @ladyandtheblues shows dad grinding up the blackberries in a granite mortar before dipping Olivia’s tiny hand and Lady’s paw into the bowl and pressing them onto paper.

He then embellished the image with hand painted flowers, along with artfully writing Olivia and Lady’s name.

He even dressed the two in perfectly matching purple outfits. Nice one dad.

As for the inspiration behind the blackberry ink, credit apparently belongs to Olivia, who gave dad the idea “when she stained her dress” eating them.

Still, folks in the comments section rightfully praised dad for this amazingly thoughtful and creative gift.

“This is the best and cutest Mother’s day gift,” one viewer wrote.

“The way I would cry,” wrote another.

Watch for yourself. As the caption suggests, it is “berry cute indeed.”

@ladyandtheblues Berry cute, yes🥹🫐? Olivia gave me this idea when she stained her dress eating blackberries🐶💜👶🏻 #babyanddog #mothersdaygift #sisters #dogsofttiktok ♬ Somewhere only we know cover - Sofía

The overwhelmingly positive response to this video show not that simple, yet sentimental gifts can make a huge impact—particularly for new moms who might want a memento of this fresh chapter.

And this idea is so easy to customize. Instead of blackberries, you could use a fruit ink or non toxic pain in mom’s favorite color, or buy jewelry with both baby and pup’s birthstones in it. Even a nicely framed photo is a nice touch.

But please, if you can, arrange matching outfits for the day. Cause how freaking adorable is that?

Pop Culture

Cool video reveals why people in old movies talked funny

This speech pattern isn’t completely British or completely American.

Photo from YouTube video.

What’s up with the funny talk?

There's a distinct accent that American actors and broadcasters used in the early days of radio and in pre-World War II movies. It's most obvious in old newsreel footage where the announcer speaks in a high-pitched tone, omits his "Rs" at the end of words, and sounds like a New Yorker who just returned from a summer holiday with the British royal family.

This speaking style is also heard in the speeches of Franklin D. Roosevelt and just about any performance by Orson Welles. But today, this accent is all but nonexistent, prompting the question: Did Americans speak differently before the advent of television?


The video below, "Why Do People in Old Movies Talk Weird?," reveals the secret of this distinct inflection known as the Mid-Atlantic accent and why it was so prominent in early 20th-century American media.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17