Arbor Day is known in the United States, and many other countries as a day set aside for the observance of an amazing piece of nature and trees! As you well know, trees serve many wonderful purposes. They provide shade from the sun, are a home to many creatures and also work to provide oxygen and purify the air we breathe. With all the work they do, trees deserve their own holiday!
While Arbor Day is not a national holiday (we don’t get to take off work and the bank is definitely open) it is a national observance and there is tons of energy put into celebrating trees and adding more trees to the planet. In the United States, National Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. However, many states select different dates based on their climate and the best time to plant trees in their specific environment.
The History of Arbor Day
Arbor Day was first celebrated in the year 1872 when J. Sterling Morton, a pioneer who landed in Nebraska, proposed an official day to plant trees. He proposed this to the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and in April of that year it is believed that over one million trees were planted across the state as a result! In 1874, Arbor Day was officially proclaimed as a state observance, and in 1875, the observance date was April 22, Morton’s birthday. Arbor Day was celebrated with a parade, a speech by Morton and the planning of thousands of trees. Children and adults alike participated, with elementary students helping as well. Other states joined the Arbor Day celebration in the 1870’s, starting the tradition by teaching school-aged children in importance of trees and how to plant them.
Arbor Day Across the World
Variations of Arbor Day are celebrated across the world. Australia celebrates Arbor Day in June and National Tree day in July. Canadians celebrate Maple Leaf Day on the last Wednesday in September which also serves as their National Forest Week. Arbor Day in Brazil is known as Dia da Arvore and is now celebrated on September 21. The Chinese celebrate Arbor Day, also known as Tree Planting Day on March 12, this is a public holiday in China. Tag des Baumes, German Arbor Day is celebrated every year on April 25. Japan’s version of Arbor Day is known as Midorio Noni (Greenery Day) and is celebrated towards the end of April. The Spanish celebrate Arbor Day on March 26th which serves as the anniversary of the date that King Alfonso planted a pine tree near Madrid. This day in Spain is referred to as Fiesta del Arbol, Tree Festival. A total of 33 countries across the world take part in some form of Arbor Day celebration.
Why is this Day Important?
Arbor Day is important because it is a day to recognize the value of trees and their enormous impact on the health of our planet. So frequently we take for granted the importance of trees and all they provide. Arbor Day is dedicated to inspire the public to take interest in trees and build passion for their presence on earth. Arbor Day also serves as a great learning opportunity for children. Elementary schools across the country celebrate Arbor Day in many ways including tree planting parties and gifting tree saplings (baby trees) for students to plant at home. Inspiring children to care for the planet and impact it positively by planting and nurturing are great ways to inspire adults.
Join in the Celebration
Don’t miss out on the Arbor Day celebration this year! The Arbor Day Foundation has tons of great ideas and materials to help you grow, inspire and appreciate trees this Arbor Day.
Consider the following suggestions:
– Celebrate with your friends by taking a hike or having a picnic at the park. After picnicking consider doing a park clean up or working with park district to plant some new trees in the area.
– Put together a community cleanup project. Gather your fellow comrades and work together to beautify your community.
– Partner with a local nursery to hold an open house in honor of Arbor Day.
– Hold a block party in honor of Arbor Day.
– Learn about caring for trees and make an effort to plant some of your own this year.
– Give the gift of a tree to someone else.
– Plant a tree for an elderly person.
– Take the time to learn about trees in your local community.
However you decide to celebrate Arbor Day, don’t forget the purpose of this observance. Take the time to appreciate the trees and nature around you. Inspire others to take interest in trees as well. The more Arbor Day participants, the better the outcome for the environment.