National Arbor Day

a woman helping children plant a tree for National Arbor Day

April 29th, 2023 is National Arbor Day!

It’s a national holiday that we celebrate every year here in the United States to promote the planting, care, and preservation of trees.

It  actually falls on the last Friday of April each year, but some states celebrate Arbor Day on different dates based on their planting season!

National Arbor Day is an important day because it helps to raise awareness of the importance of trees to the environment and encourages people to take action to protect and preserve our planet’s natural resources.

History of National Arbor Day

The first Arbor Day was actually celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraskan journalist, and politician, initiated the holiday to encourage tree planting in the state. Morton believed that planting trees would help conserve soil, provide windbreaks, and shade, and beautify the landscape.

He advocated for Arbor Day to be celebrated annually as a public holiday, and it was eventually adopted by other states and the federal government. In 1885, Arbor Day had become a legal holiday in Nebraska and spread across the US from there.

Known as the Father of Arbor day, Julius Morton is forever memorialized with a bronze statue in the National Statuary Hall collection in Washington D.C.

He served on the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and the State Horticultural Society. And in 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed Morton U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, where he served from 1893–1897.

About the Arbor Day Foundation

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit, education organization that is dedicated to promoting the planting, nurturing, and celebration of trees. It was founded in 1972 with the goal of inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. The organization is based in Nebraska City, Nebraska, USA, and has members and partners throughout the United States and in many other countries around the world.

The Arbor Day Foundation works on a variety of programs and initiatives, including Arbor Day Celebrations, to promote its mission, including:

  1. Tree planting: The Foundation provides trees and resources to individuals, groups, and communities to plant trees in public spaces, parks, and forests. They also have programs to help restore forests that have been damaged by natural disasters or human activities.
  2. Education: The Foundation provides educational resources for teachers, students, and adults on the importance of trees, the benefits they provide, and how to care for them.
  3. Tree care: The Foundation provides resources and information to help people care for their trees, including how to properly prune, water, and maintain them.
  4. Conservation: The Foundation works to protect forests and other natural areas, and to promote sustainable forestry practices.
  5. Advocacy: The Foundation advocates for policies and programs that support the planting and protection of trees, and works to raise awareness about the importance of trees in communities and ecosystems.

The National Arbor Day Proclomation

On Arbor Day On April 15, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an “Arbor Day Proclamation” encouraging all Americans to plant trees on Arbor Day. He recognized the important role that trees played in the health and well-being of communities and ecosystems, and urged Americans to take action to protect and preserve their natural resources.

Roosevelt’s proclamation helped to elevate the status of Arbor Day and to promote the planting and care of trees as a national priority. Even though actual date of Arbor Day differs from state to state, it’s actually celebrated in all 50 states in the United States, as well as in many other countries around the world, as a day to recognize the importance of trees and to encourage tree planting and conservation efforts.

We think that ecological conservation movement is new, but if we remember these moments in history, we might realize how our forefathers did think about the environment and the world in some way!

Arbor Day and Tree City USA communities

Have you ever heard of a Tree City USA Community?

Tree City USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes and supports communities that are committed to maintaining and improving their urban forests. To become a Tree City USA community, a city or town must meet these four Tree City USA Standards:

  1. A tree board or department: The community must have a board or department that is responsible for the care and maintenance of the urban forest.
  2. A tree care ordinance: The community must have a tree care ordinance that outlines the rules and regulations for planting, maintaining, and removing trees in public spaces.
  3. A community forestry program: The community must have a program that provides education and outreach on the benefits of trees and encourages tree planting and care in public spaces.
  4. An Arbor Day observance: The community must hold an annual Arbor Day celebration to raise awareness about the importance of trees and encourage community members to get involved in tree planting and care.

Tree City USA communities receive a number of benefits, including access to technical assistance and training from the Arbor Day Foundation, public recognition for their commitment to urban forestry, and eligibility for grants and funding opportunities.

The Tree City USA program was established in 1976 and has since grown to include thousands of communities across the United States. These communities play a vital role in maintaining and improving the health and well-being of urban forests, and their commitment to sustainable forestry practices helps to ensure that future generations will continue to benefit from the many services that trees provide.

How cool is that?

Ideas for Celebrating National Arbor Day

National Arbor Day is celebrated in various ways, from tree-planting events to educational activities. Here are some ways to celebrate National Arbor Day:

  • Plant a Tree
    • One of the best ways to celebrate National Arbor Day is by planting a tree. You can plant a tree in your yard, in a community park, or in a forested area.
  • Participate in a Tree Planting Event
    • Many organizations, such as the National Forest Foundation, organize tree-planting events on Arbor Day. You can volunteer to plant trees in a public park or forest.
  • Learn About Trees
    • Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to learn about the importance of trees and how to care for them. You can attend workshops, seminars, or educational events to learn about tree care, pruning, and maintenance.
  • Support Tree Conservation Efforts
    • Many organizations work to conserve trees and protect forests. You can support these efforts by making a donation or volunteering your time.
  • Spread the Word
    • Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of trees and their benefits to the environment. You can share information about Arbor Day on social media, write a blog post, or talk to your friends and family about the importance of trees.

National Arbor Day is an important event that highlights the importance of trees to the environment and encourages us to take action to protect and preserve our planet’s natural resources. Trees play a critical role in mitigating climate change, conserving soil, and providing habitats for numerous species of animals and insects, not to mention they elevate our quality of life and keep us breathing Oxygen!

Arbor Day provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about how the planting of trees and shrubs is vital to our continued success as a species as well as participate in tree-planting events, and support nonprofit conservation efforts. 

By celebrating National Arbor Day, we can all do our part to protect the environment and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

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