Arbor Day

Every April, one day is set aside just for trees. This day is known as Arbor Day and is officially observed on the last Friday of April. On this day, everyone is encouraged to plant and/or take care of a tree in their neighborhood.

How it All Began
A Nebraska man named J. Sterling Morton, who was a settler from Detroit, originally started Arbor Day in 1872. The very first Arbor Day was held on April 10th of that year and it is believed that more than one million trees were planted statewide. Arbor Day wasn’t celebrated again until 1874 but it proved to be so popular that it was officially declared a state holiday in 1885. Nebraska chose April 22nd, Morton’s birthday, as the official date.

Since then, many other states have followed suit and declared their own Arbor Day. While the majority officially celebrate in April, the observed day can fall anywhere between January and May depending on the planting conditions in that particular state. Nationally, President Nixon made the last Friday in April the official Arbor Day date for the entire country in 1970.

The United States is not the only country to celebrate Arbor Day. Many other countries have an official day (and sometimes even week!) dedicated to planting trees. Some, like Australia, Germany and China, also use the name Arbor Day although they celebrate on a different date. Other countries have their own name for the day, including:

  • Iceland: Students’ Afforestation Day
  • India: National Festival of Tree Planting
  • Israel: Tu B’Shevat or New Year of the Trees
  • Japan: Greening Week
  • Korea: Tree Loving Week
  • Mexico: Day of the Trees

What You Can Do
Arbor Day is all about planting trees, so look for areas around your home or neighborhood that could use a new tree or two. The National Arbor Day Foundation has numerous trees and shrubs that you can purchase at a low cost. You can also make a donation to preserve part of the Rainforest. Plant-It 2020 is a non-profit organization that will plant, care and maintain a tree for you for just $1.

If you are looking for some Arbor Day-themed crafts to do with your children, then here create a pop-up tree card or a pinecone birdfeeder complete with homemade suet!