The origins of Arbor Day date back to the late nineteenth century when J. Sterling Morton, who sat on the Nebraska Board of Agriculture, proposed a national tree-planting holiday with prizes offered as an incentive. The initiative was such a success, with an estimated 1 million trees planted that day, that Nebraska’s Governor proclaimed Arbor Day an official state holiday. By the early 20th century more than 45 U.S. states and territories had adopted the tradition. Education about the importance of trees was added to school curriculums nationwide, and students were each given a tree to plant in their own yard.
Morton intended the day to remind all of us of our responsibility as stewards of the earth, as well as to look towards the future, as emphasized in his 1885 speech, where he said: “we ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.” 150 years later, Arbor Day has evolved into a global celebration, with communities around the world gathering to plant trees on the last Friday in April.
Here are some great ways to celebrate:
✅ Take a walk in a local park or state forest and simply appreciate the natural beauty of native trees.
✅ Organize a community scavenger hunt with categories like “biggest tree” and “oldest tree.”
✅ Choose a park or other downtown area to clean up.
✅ Take a class on tree identification, planting or pruning.
✅ Take part in a tree planting event or plant a tree on your own property. Portsmouth is celebrating its 400th anniversary by planting 400 trees, 200 of which will be made available to local residents to plant at their homes or businesses. Find out more here: https://loom.ly/yd62XSk
*Fun fact: Portsmouth has more than 10,000 trees, including a horse chestnut planted in 1776 by Declaration of Independence signer William Whipple! Learn more here: https://loom.ly/3yKW2gU
Green Maids will be donated to One Tree Planted on Arbor Day, learn more about this organization here: https://onetreeplanted.org/