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Celebrating Arbor Day with a Bit of History

We’ve probably all been celebrating Arbor Day since we were in elementary school. By ‘celebrating’ I mean planting trees! What you probably didn’t know though is that Arbor Day has a long history, almost 150 years worth!

Arbor Day first originated in Nebraska in the 1870s. A man named J. Sterling Morton proposed the very first Arbor day as a ‘tree planting holiday’ at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. It was first established to be celebrated on April 10th but soon was changed to April 22nd in honor of Morton’s birthday and for the date’s ideal tree-planting weather. Today it is nationally celebrated on the last Friday in April, however, several states observe Arbor Day on different dates based on the optimal tree-planting time in that area.

Arbor day history timeline

Why Planting Trees is Important

  • Improve our air quality by removing carbon dioxide in the air released by the burning of fossil fuels
  • Supply us with oxygen so we can live and breathe
  • Clean our drinking water
  • Lower surface and air temperature (which helps your wallet too by cutting down energy costs)
  • Reduce the effects of climate change

…and if those reasons aren’t enough for you, there’s more!

What You Can Dohugging tree

Here are just a few ways you and your community can get involved that don’t just involve planting trees:

  • Donate
  • Invite your friends to help raise money for non-profits like the Arbor Day Foundation on Facebook
  • Enjoy the outdoors
  • Volunteer with a local tree-planting organization
  • Become a Tree Ambassador

The Arbor Day Foundation has put together a list for “6 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day in a Time of Social Distancing”.