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The History of Arbor Day

February 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 223

In 1854, a pioneer from Detroit named J. Sterling Morton moved to the Nebraska Territory. Being fond of nature, Morton took very quickly to the future state, planting shrubs, trees, and flowers around the home he and his wife established. Morton eventually became the editor of a large Nebraska newspaper and used this outlet to share agricultural information with the public, including his love of trees.

The First Arbor Day

In early January of 1872, Morton met with the state board of agriculture to suggest a holiday focused on the benefits and planting of trees. Morton proposed the holiday be called "Arbor Day". The board of agriculture agreed, and the first unofficial Arbor Day was held on April 10th 1872. Some estimates report as many as one million trees that were planted on this first celebration. Participation was encouraged by offering rewards and prizes to municipalities and even individuals that planted the largest numbers of trees.

As a result of the enormous success in the first two years, then governor of Nebraska, Robert Furnas, declared Arbor Day an official state holiday on March 12th 1874 and it was observed on April 10th of the same year. It became a legal holiday in Nebraska in 1885 and the date of observance was moved to April 22, Morton's birthday.

Tree Planting Becomes Contagious

More States passed laws during the 1870s recognizing the observance of Arbor Day, and in 1882, a tradition of observing the day in schools began nationwide. Currently the national Arbor Day is observed on the third Friday each April. Many states have decided to observe the holiday to coincide with their best planting seasons. In the southern United States, for example, Arbor Day is often observed in January or February, and as late as May in the far north.

Though not as anticipated as some other national holidays, Arbor Day is the genuine article. Not sullied with commercialism or lost meaning, the spirit is simple: plant a tree, and take a moment to reflect on the value and beauty that they offer. Tree plantings still take place in cities all over the nation, in urban areas as well as rural. Both individuals and organized groups take part each year with actions large and small, from planting a single tree in the back yard to massive community wide plantings that receive local and national recognition for their contributions of time and money. Millions of trees are planted each year and we are all the better for it.

G. Robertson is a professional arborist and the owner of Yellow Ribbon Tree Experts, an Atlanta tree services company. Yellow Ribbon Tree Experts specializes in Atlanta tree removal and uses only the best arboricultural practices.

Source: EzineArticles
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