One Busy Guy presents...
All About Arbor Day
It was 1854 and pioneers were busy settling into the Nebraska Territory. This area of the country was largely a treeless plain way back then. These hard working settlers not only transformed the barren plains. They most likely participated in the very first 'green' movement of our culture.
J. Sterling Morton and his wife left Detroit to settle in this new territory. As nature lovers are wont to do, their new property was soon adorned with a variety of locally available trees and shrubs. Morton was a journalist by trade and became editor of the area's first newspaper. Utilizing this new platform he was able to enlist a good deal of enthusiasm from other like minded pioneers.
Trees are exceptionally useful. Everyone needs fuel and shade. Trees are excellent wind breaks and help to keep soil in place... not to mention their value as building materials.
Soon enough he had conscripted a large number of civic groups who eventually made him secretary of this Nebraska Territory. Today one would hardly suspect this area as being once completely devoid of foliage.
It was Morton who first put forth the concept of 'Arbor Day' on January 4 of 1872. The board of agriculture did indeed set a first observance for April 10 of that year.
Some say as many as a million trees were planted on that first day. It was obviously successful. Governor Robert Furnas proclaimed Arbor Day an official Nebraskan holiday on March 12, 1874.
Generally, this observance is held on the last Friday of April (that's a holiday in Nebraska). However, each state has an official tree and sets dates of its' own (California observes an entire week). Observances are held during months of acceptable weather, usually in the spring. Florida keeps its' day in January.
'Arbor Day' is more a recognition than a celebration but it is a wonderful idea. Trees are emblematic of humanity and enjoy prominent literary and poetic posture. As all green things, they give off oxygen and make the sun's energy edible. Scenery is more the lovely and air much the sweeter for their green contribution!
Plant a tree to celebrate any significant event... a marriage, a birth, an acquisition. Now watch it grow!
That's the story,