April 27th Is Arbor Day

From the Latin “arbor”, meaning “tree”, the Arbor Day holiday is observed across the country by individuals and groups who honor the day by planting and caring for trees.

Believe it or not, Arbor Day in America dates back to 1872. The brain child of Julius Sterling Morton, who was President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture, the first Arbor Day celebration was held on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska; during which an estimated 1 million trees were planted.

In 1883 Arbor Day went global when Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut visited Japan and shared his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message with the country. That same year, Northrop was named Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide by the American Forestry Association. Following his appointment, Northrop brought his passion for Arbor Day to Canada, Europe, and Australia.

On the surface, the history and purpose of Arbor Day seems simple enough. But as with many innovative movements in the United States, the day is not without controversy. In 1997, on the 125th anniversary of Arbor Day, things started to get a little sticky.

…David J. Wright, noticed that a Nebraska nonprofit organization called the National Arbor Day Foundation had taken the name of the holiday and commercialized it for their own use as a trademark for their publication “Arbor Day,” so he countered their efforts, launched a website, and trademarked it for “public use celebrations” and defended the matter in a federal district court in the United States to ensure it was judged as property of the public domain, the case was settled in October 1999. Today anyone can use the term “Arbor Day” as well as hold their own Arbor Day celebration. [source]

arbor day 2012

Celebrating Arbor Day is easy and good for the environment too!! The Arbor Day Foundation has some great suggestions on their ArborDay.org website:

– Organize a beautification project in a public area.

– Get people into action. Ask a civic or service group to promote a paper drive to gather paper to be recycled and save a tree. Use the proceeds to buy a special tree to plant in a park or other special public place.

– Hold a poster contest, or a poetry contest.

– Sponsor a children’s pageant or play.

– Fill the air with music. Have an Arbor Day concert of songs about trees, or with tree names in their titles.

– Sponsor a tree trivia contest. Give away trees to winners.

– Conduct a tree search. Ask people to find large, unusual or historic trees in your community. Once the results are in, publish a map that highlights the winners, or hold a walk showcasing them.

– Tell people to take a hike — a tree identification hike — and have girl scouts or boy scouts act as guides.

– Dedicate a forest, or a tree, or a flower bed in a park, and make it an occasion to talk about stewardship. Get a local nursery or garden center to hold an open house or field day. Organize an Arbor Day Fair.

– Encourage neighborhood organizations to hold block parties and get their members to adopt and care for street trees in front of their homes. Pass out buttons. Give away trees.

– Celebrate Arbor Day in a personal way by planting a tree yourself. It is an act of optimism and kindness, a labor of love and a commitment to stewardship.

– Read a book about trees. Learn to identify trees in your yard and neighborhood.
Enjoy the outdoors. Visit a local park or take a nature hike.

– Attend a class on tree and plant care.

– Volunteer with a local tree-planting organization. You’ll meet new people and make a difference in your community.

If you’re interested in getting involved on a larger scale, the Arbor Day Foundation Volunteer Center is looking for you!


national arbor day april 27

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