“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” —Chinese Proverb
Arbor Day History
In 1854, Julius Sterling Morton moved from Detroit, Michigan to stake a claim in the Nebraska Territory, and became the editor of the Nebraska City News. He served as Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, on the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, and as the 3rd U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Mr. Morton advocated planting trees for their beauty and practical value as windbreaks, fuel, building materials, and shade. At a Nebraska State Board of Agriculture meeting, he proposed a tree-planting holiday called “Arbor Day” with prizes offered to individuals and counties for planting the most trees. The idea was approved and the first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872. Nearly a million trees were planted that day.
Arbor Day spread from Nebraska to other states and countries. The last Friday in April is a common day to observe Arbor Day, however, dates vary by region to coincide with the best tree-planting weather.
Arbor Day Foundation
The nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation was founded in 1972 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Arbor Day and carry on its tree-planting mission.
“We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees”
Since its inception over 40 years ago, the Arbor Foundation has grown and expanded.
Tree City USA
The Arbor Day Foundation promotes planting and caring for trees in towns and cities through its Tree City USA program.
Nature Explore is a collaborative effort with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation to connect kids with nature.
Arbor Day Farm
The 260-acre Arbor Day Farm is home to the Tree Adventure® education and entertainment park, Apple House Market, and Lied Lodge and Conference Center.
Other Arbor Day Foundation programs include Tree Line USA, Tree Campus USA, Rain Forest Rescue, Arbor Day Awards, Disaster Recovery Campaigns, and a volunteer portal.
Visitors to the Arbor Day Foundation website can learn about programs and corporate sponsors, shop for trees, shade grown coffee, apparel, publications, and videos, sign up for membership, or make a donation.
United States National Tree – The Oak Tree
Vote for America’s National Tree
In 2001, the Arbor Day Foundation hosted an online poll asking people to vote for one of 21 candidate trees to become America’s national tree. The oak tree was the winner, followed by the redwood, dogwood, maple, and pine.
United States National Tree Legislation
In 2003, Virginia Congressman, Bob Goodlatte, introduced Bill H.R. 1775 to designate the oak tree as the national tree of the United States. The legislation was passed by Congress in 2004.
The United States Code – National Tree
The United States Code contains the general and permanent laws of the United States and is published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. Government Printing Office maintains digital copies that may be viewed by the public.
- Title 36 – Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations
- Subtitle I – Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies
- Part A – Observances and Ceremonies
- Chapter 3 – National Anthem, Motto, Floral Emblem, March, and Tree
- Sec. 305 – National Tree
- The tree genus Quercus, commonly known as the oak tree, is the national tree.
- 10 Ways to Green for Earth Day 2013
- Arbor Day 2014 – Plant a Tree in Your Yard
- National Park Week 2013 – Celebrate the Great Outdoors
- The Lorax – Book Review
- Arbor Day Foundation
- Arbor Day Foundation – Oak Becomes America’s National Tree, by Sean Barry, 12/10/04
- Arbor Day Foundation – The History of Arbor Day
- U.S. Government Printing Office – United States Code – Title 36
- U.S. Library of Congress – Bill H.R.1775 – To amend title 36, United States Code, to designate the oak tree as the national tree of the United States
- Wikipedia – Arbor Day