Arbor Day — A Time for Celebration and Action

Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar

Image from our Wanderlust 2017 wall calendar featuring photography by Chris Burkard.

Today I have grown taller from walking with the trees. — Karle Wilson Baker

On April 28, communities across the country will to come together to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. What is the origin of this celebration for this natural wonder?

Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), one of the earliest American conservationists, settled on the treeless plains of Nebraska in 1855, where he edited the Nebraska City News and developed a lifelong interest in new agricultural methods. Believing that the prairie needed more trees to serve as windbreaks, to hold moisture in the soil, and to provide lumber for housing, Morton began planting trees and urged his neighbors to do the same. On April 10, 1872, when he first proposed that a specific day be set aside for the planting of trees, the response was overwhelming: a million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day alone.

All 50 states now observe Arbor Day—usually on the last Friday in April—and the idea has spread to other countries as well. Most observances take place in the public schools, where the value of trees is discussed and trees and shrubs are planted. But it is in Nebraska City, Nebraska, that Morton is best remembered as the originator of Arbor Day, with celebrations taking place on or near his birthday, April 22. A special ceremony is held at Arbor Lodge, Morton’s homestead and one of the earliest known attempts at conservation and beautification in America.

From the Arbor Day Foundation website, here are just some of the benefits of trees:

Trees do so much for us. In our yards, they provide shade, reduce energy costs and increase property values. Along our streets, they reduce stormwater runoff that can carry pollutants to our waterways. Throughout our communities, they improve the mental and respiratory health, reduce crime, break up heat islands, create jobs and boost the economy. In our forests, they restore critical wildlife habitat, provide opportunities for recreation and maintain healthy watersheds to protect drinking water resources for millions of Americans. And no matter where they’re planted, trees are working hard to filter pollutants out of our air and water, sequester carbon, release oxygen and provide immeasurable beauty and serenity that feed the human soul.

Find more information about celebrations and events in your area.
And be sure to hug at least one tree 🌳 ❤️

Additional source: Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, 5th Ed., published by Omnigraphics


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