America usually celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday of April. However, states are free to choose their own commemorative dates considering the best environment for trees to prosper.
Arbor comes from the Latin word for “tree”. This day is dedicated to trees and plants to help promote the importance of planting and conserving trees.
It is a public holiday in Nebraska, where schools and businesses are closed.
Why Are Trees Important
Trees are important for the survival of the planet and are commonly known as the Earth's lungs.
They provide shelter to many animals, mainly birds, and the source of materials that are essential for human living, such as paper, cork, and sap.
Arbor Day's History
The idea for Arbor Day originated in the 1870s in Nebraska. Julius Sterling Morton was a journalist who moved to the state in 1854.
His wife and he together bought 160 acres of land for their property. They planted several trees and shrubbery throughout this barren property.
Morton, as the new editor for the Nebraska City News, found the perfect opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of trees in the ecosystem.
This made Nebraskans realize how barren and void of greenery the state is. Soon after, Morton became a part of the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.
In 1872, he suggested a dedicated day should be created for planting trees. The board accepted his proposal from him and so, Arbor Day was born.
The first-ever Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872, with several dedicated Nebraskans participating and planting around 1 million trees.
The board also promised prizes for those who planted trees correctly and this encouraged them even more.
Arbor Day became an official state holiday in Nebraska in 1885 and was to be observed on April 22, in honor of Morton's birthday.
It wasn't until 1970 that the day was recognized on a national scale by President Richard Nixon.
How To Observe Arbor Day
The Arbor Day Foundation is largely responsible for organizing Arbor Day events and activities.
They suggest that some of the ways people can participate in observing this day are to help in cleaning up a public park, care for the natural environment, not only plants, but also animals, and, of course, plant and care for trees.
Many events on the day are for people to learn about trees and encourage them to participate in nature preservation.
Activities include concerts, exhibitions, and talks, and take place around the country in schools, communities, and organizations.