News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Most of us have probably heard of Arbor Day before, but fewer and fewer people seem to celebrate it. The holiday has faded into the background over the years, taking a backseat to the more famous Earth Day. And while they’re similar, Arbor Day has its own history and traditions separate from Earth Day.
So, in honor of Georgia’s Arbor Day this Friday, let’s take a minute and learn about the holiday!
Where Did Arbor Day Come From?
Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by a humble newspaper editor by the name of Julius Sterling Morton. Morton, along with many other pioneers, noticed the lack of trees in Nebraska almost immediately after leaving Detroit to travel there. While he missed having trees around like he used to, Morton also knew how important trees were to a functioning society. At the time (and now), trees were an important source of fuel and building materials. They also acted as windbreaks to protect towns from harsher weather, and prevented soil erosion, which in turn meant better conditions for farming.
Soon after arriving, Morton began advocating for the community to plant as many trees as possible. He would eventually become the Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, a position he quickly used to establish a tree-planting holiday, which we now know as Arbor Day.
The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10th, 1872. Nebraska awarded prizes to the communities and individuals with the “largest number of properly planted trees” for the day. By most estimates, more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.
What Is Arbor Day Today?
Nowadays, nearly 150 years later, Arbor Day is still around. Communities come together on this special holiday to reflect on the importance of trees and work together to plant more.
New research has proven that trees, in addition to producing the oxygen we breathe and supporting our environments, actually have a multitude of benefits. These include sheltering homes and towns from hot summer temperatures, encouraging creativity, and improving both our mental and physical health.
When Is Arbor Day?
Nationally, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. In Nebraska, where it began, Arbor Day is actually a civic holiday. Over the years, many other states began to adopt Arbor Day, choosing their own dates to celebrate it. Now, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day at some point early in the year.
In Georgia, we celebrate Arbor Day on the third Friday in February. This year, that’s this Friday, February 19th!
How Can You Celebrate Arbor Day?
The traditional way to celebrate Arbor Day is by planting a tree. After all, the holiday is set aside for us to remember the importance of trees. What better way than to foster a new one?
This year, the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission will be giving out free Red Oak and Dogwood saplings outside Watkinsville City Hall to celebrate Arbor Day. Stop by and pick one out (while supplies last) and plant your own Arbor Day tree!
But there are lots of other ways you can celebrate trees this Arbor Day, if planting one isn’t an option for you. Here are just a few:
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.