While Arbor Day may be celebrated on a different day in your community, depending upon the best time to plant a tree where you live, nationally it is celebrated this Friday, April 29, 2016.
The first idea for an Arbor Day was from J. Sterling Morton, a Nebraska pioneer. He and his wife were nature-lovers who planted trees and flowers around their new home. A journalist who became editor of a Nebraska newspaper, Morton used his paper to promote the planting of trees. Not only were trees reminders of the homelands pioneers left behind, but they were crucial for windbreaks and as sources of fuel, lumber, and shade.
Morton’s passion for tree-planting reached a wider audience when he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory. According to the History of Arbor Day from the Arbor Day Foundation, “On January 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called Arbor Day at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture.” This brief history gives many details about the first celebrations.
Today, there are many community celebrations for Arbor Day. Be sure to check for one where you live, or organize a celebration yourself. The Arbor Day Foundation has great ideas, including: planting a tree (of course!), reading a book about trees, cleaning up the areas around trees in public parks, and organizing a big tree or oldest tree hunt in your neighborhood.
So follow the Mortons’ example and show some love for trees this Friday! Then read more in Two Cheers for Trees.
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