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Arbor Day: What it is and when it is

Arbor Day: What it is and when it is
Arbor Day: What it is and when it is
Photo by Mark Nolan

Arbor Day comes from "arbor" meaning tree is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Today, many countries observe this holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season.

Arbor Day has been celebrated on the last Friday in April since 1872. The first American Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton. On April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day. A journalist named J. Sterling Morton created this holiday to encourage people to plant trees and to raise awareness about the importance of forests and plants.

Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing Arbor Day when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by Julius Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. By the 1920s, each state in the United States had passed public laws that stipulated a certain day to be Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day observance.

National Arbor Day is a civic holiday. Each state celebrates its own state holiday. The customary observance is to plant a tree.People celebrate this holiday by volunteering their time to plant trees or donating money to preserve forests. Many schools plan a variety of Arbor Day activities like essay contests, art projects, and field trips to local parks to get kids engaged in this important campaign.

Today, Arbor Day is a worldwide celebration. To celebrate Arbor Day, plant a tree in your yard and let others know about Arbor Day.