If someone plants a tree in the forest and no one sees it, did it really happen? Perhaps that’s not the correct question to be asking. How about this: if someone plants a tree in the forest, what day is it? That might be a little closer to today’s topic: Arbor Day.
When Is Arbor Day 2022?
National Arbor Day, as it is officially called, always occurs on the last Friday in the month of April. In 2022, that date falls on April 29.
What Is Arbor Day?
Much like Earth Day, National Arbor Day is a celebration of nature and a civic prompt to give back as an inhabitant of the planet. Specifically, as it relates to trees and the planting of trees. In fact, the word “arbor” (in Latin) literally means tree.
Since its beginning, Arbor Day has been observed as a holiday where individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. This occurs within community organizations both public and private, all the way down to individual citizens who might be motivated to plant a tree in their own yard. It is the appreciation of trees and their important contribution to our planet that makes Arbor Day so significant.
What Is the History of Arbor Day?
While there are a few historically documented accounts of Arbor Day-type celebrations internationally, as early as the 16th century, the primary origin of the holiday was Nebraska City, Nebraska. A local newspaper editor, J. Sterling Morton, was a great appreciator of trees and began to advocate for their propagation. Even though Nebraska City was a relatively small town, Morton spread his message through the paper he edited, the Nebraska City News, and it resonated with the people of the town.
Morton proposed the very first Arbor Day to the State Board of Agriculture in 1872 and the inaugural date was set for April 10 of that year. It was an immediate success. According to arborday.org, it was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day.
Arbor Day was observed by the state of Nebraska annually from April 10, 1872, forward, and many other U.S. states adopted the observance in subsequent years. However, it did not become a national holiday until 1970 under the direction of President Richard Nixon.
How Is Arbor Day Observed?
The most obvious way to observe Arbor Day is to plant a tree, but if you do not have the means to plant one yourself, there are certainly other activities to participate in. Many regional, state and national parks, public forest preserves, arboretums, and botanical gardens honor the day with planting ceremonies that can be attended by the general public, so that is a fun and educational event that may be available in your area.
Another practice that has grown in popularity over the years is the planting of a tree as a tribute to an important person you would like to honor. It’s a meaningful way to celebrate their life and legacy with a memorial that can live on.
At the very least, you can simply take a moment to stroll through our great outdoors. Look around and set your eyes on these vast growing, thriving structures of trunks, branches, leaves, flowers and fruit. Nature’s monuments to life that provide us with oxygen, stabilize the earth and provide safe havens for our precious wildlife and us. It’s an incredibly powerful thing to take in.
In fact, a simple appreciation of the beauty and benefit of trees sounds like a lovely way to spend National Arbor Day, don’t you think?Arbor Day 101: A Brief Primer by The Bradford Exchange