Fri 24 Apr 2009
Molly Ryan-Fisher writes: This is neat info from my office enviro committee – thought it might be worth sharing on the web site.
“The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful,
and the ennobling in man.”
These are the words of the founder of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton. Do
you know the history of Arbor Day?
J. Sterling Morton and his wife, both avid nature lovers, were among the
pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854. Once they
established their new home, they made sure to plant many trees, shrubs,
and flowers around their homestead. Morton worked as a journalist and
became the editor of Nebraska’s finest newspaper. He used this forum as
a means to spread his enthusiasm for trees and agriculture, and as his
prominence increased, Morton became secretary of the Nebraska Territory.
In early 1872, Morton proposed setting aside a day to encourage
individuals, groups, and civic organizations to properly plant trees.
His fellow pioneers missed the trees back east, but more importantly,
trees were needed for windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and
building materials, and for shade from the hot sun. Because of Morton’s
advocacy, April 10, 1872, became the first official celebration of Arbor
Day. It was estimated that over 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska
on that day!
Throughout the 1870s, many other states passed legislation to observe
Arbor Day. Today the most common date for observance is the last Friday
in April; however, a number of states celebrate at times that coincide
with their best tree planting weather. Arbor Day is celebrated as early
as November in Hawaii, in December in South Carolina, in January and
February in many southern states, and as late as May for some states in