Archive for the ‘Julius Sterling Morton’ Category

What is Arbor Day?

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Next week on April 24th, 2009 is Arbor Day in the United States. So, what is Arbor Day?

Julius Sterling Morton, a journalist and a politician, founded the first Arbor Day in Nebraska. He long advocated tree-planting because he realized the importance of trees to the local landscape and economy. He was appointed to the state board of agriculture and this is where Arbor Day was born.

Morton proposed designating one day a year to plant trees or to inform others the importance of trees. April 10, 1872 was the very first Arbor Day designated by Morton himself. On this day more than one million trees were planted. The 2nd Arbor Day did not officially take place for another 12 years after it was declared an official state holiday in Nebraska. In the years following other states declared their own Arbor Days. Almost a century went by before President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April National Arbor Day in 1970. Since then this is when we celebrate it here in the United States.

In years to follow other countries have joined in. Some call their day and/or week Arbor Day/week, some have a different name for it but all educate about the importance of trees and plant trees during this time.

Trees provide us with oxygen, clean air, shelter, shade, a place to cool off, medicine, food, tools, clean soil. Trees control noise pollution, slow storm water runoff, act as wind breakers. Trees store excess carbon—helping maintain a livable temperature on this planet. Trees are beautiful and increase property values. Trees are home to many species big and small…almost all birds. Trees inspire art, give you the perfect place to read. Children love to climb them. They are invaluable in so many ways.

So. Plant a tree. Plant more than one. It is the least you could do. =)

For more information on what you can do to help or to get involved you can visit the Arbor Day website. If you live outside of the United States you can find out when Arbor Day or something similar is celebrated in your country here.