It’s time to take a hike and get your hands dirty, folks. It’s (National )Arbor Day, a holiday that helps shine the spotlight on the importance of planting and caring for trees of all shapes, sizes and varieties. Each year, individuals, communities and businesses across the nation take part in the annual event.
Observed on the last Friday in April, some states celebrate the holiday on different dates based on the weather and tree-planting times. Please visit the Arbor Day website to find specific dates for your neck-of-the-woods.
Arbor Day History
Julius Sterling Morton loved nature. He planted orchards, trees and wind breaks on his farm in Nebraska and urged his friends, neighbors and organizations to do the same. The journalist and editor, who also served as Governor of the Nebraska Territory and Secretary of Agriculture under United States President Grover Cleveland, “created” the special tree planting holiday in Nebraska in 1872 to encourage folks to plants trees. It is estimated that one million trees were planted in Nebraska during that first year! The popularity of Nebraska's Arbor Day spread and other states joined in until all 50 states took part in the event. In 1970, President Richard Nixon made it official and proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.
Trees are not only good for the environment, but they provide shade, help stabilize the soil and provide protection from the wind. Some trees provide delicious fruit or nuts, beautiful flowers or are used as fuel and building materials. Why not head outside and get your hands dirty? Plant a tree today in honor of Arbor Day.