It’s April and that means we turn our attention to Mother Earth. We know spring is at hand as shoots of green emerge from the winter brown and buds explode into leaves on the trees.
In 1872 a member of Nebraska’s state board of agriculture proposed that there be a special day set aside for planting trees. That man was J. Sterling Morton, who would later become the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under Grover Cleveland. His vision would become a reality on April 10, 1872, when Nebraska held the first Arbor Day. Over one million trees were planted. In 1884 the second Arbor Day was held and it has since been an annual occurrence with all 50 states participating.
In 1970 President Richard Nixon declared the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day. Today, many states celebrate the holiday at different times in the spring depending on the best time to plant trees in that climate. In 2004, Congress passed legislation making the Oak the national tree.
So why are trees important? For one, they reduce your global footprint by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen. Trees offer cooling shade, block winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify the air, prevent soil erosion and clean our water.
What can you do? Resolve to plant a tree this year. The Arbor Day Foundation will send you trees to plant. Request yours at www.arborday.org.