We’re excited for one of the most underrated holidays of the year: Arbor Day! Arbor Day is all about taking care of the trees and our environment. Not only does taking care of our home make the Northeast more beautiful, it also helps us live healthy, sustainable lives. Interested in learning more about Arbor Day? You’ve come to the right place.
You would probably assume that Arbor Day originated in an area full of forests and trees, right?
Wrong. It actually began in the Great Plains of Nebraska. In 1854, J. Sterling Morton and his wife Caroline Joy French moved to a newly formed Nebraska territory from their previous home in Michigan. Puzzled by the lack of trees, Morton worked to encourage tree-planting for both environmental benefit and to beautify the landscape. As an editor at the Nebraska City News, he was lucky enough to have a decent platform to advocate for his endeavors.
He was successful, beginning a sort of “tree renaissance” in Nebraska on April 10th, 1872, when it is said Nebraskans planted a million trees. This became known in history as the first Arbor Day. The birthplace of Arbor Day was Nebraska City, where the Mortons lived in their home, the Arbor Lodge. In 1885, Nebraska declared April 22 Arbor Day, in honor of Morton’s birthday. He even eventually served under President Grover Cleveland (a Northeasterner) as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1893 to 1897!
Today, all 50 states and many different countries recognize and celebrate Arbor Day. The day of its observance varies depending on the best time of year to plant trees in each location. For many states in the northeast, that day is the last Friday in April; this year being Friday, April 26.
Trees play a vital role in our environment, and Arbor Day is significant in recognizing their importance. Many groups plan tree planting events for the holiday, as well as make posters and share information to bring attention to the topic. Check out what’s available in your community and join their efforts this year.
Trees are the world’s biggest plant, and they provide oxygen, store carbon, stabilize soil, and provide an endless amount of materials. Consider planting one in your yard this Arbor Day. How about a spruce tree? Pick up a spruce tree seedling at your local Price Chopper or Market 32!
Happy Arbor Day!