Arbor Day

Co-Chairmen: 
Mary Lou Goodwin, mlgoodwin@outlook.com

Arbor Day History

 
Thanks to the passion and gusto of a tree-lover named J. Sterling Morton, Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872 by planting an estimated one million trees on the treeless prairie.  Since its inception in the 1800's, Arbor Day has been celebrated around the nation as a day to plant and care for trees.
     Morton believed that the beauty of trees was a reason unto itself: “ To preserve beauty on the earth, to plant trees, and renew dead landscapes with the shadow  and light of plant life flitting through the pendant limbs, the willowy boughs and the waving foliage of sturdy, yet graceful woods.  Our ancestors planted orchards to fruit for us, and homes to give us shelter.”  He noted that Arbor Day was unusual among holiday: “Each of those reposes upon the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.  It contemplates, not the good and the beautiful of past generations, but it sketches, outlines, establishes the useful and beautiful for the ages yet to come”.
     In 1893, Morton was made Secretary of Agriculture by President Grover Cleveland, and a few years later the Government Printing Office published a manual on the history and observance of Arbor Day.  The publisher wrote that Arbor Day could not only teach students the importance of trees to the functioning of society, but also make them into “tree lovers. A tree sentiment will be created and established which will lead us to recognize and cherish the trees as friends.”
     A century after the holiday was first celebrated, the Arbor Day Foundation was created to continue encouraging people to plant and love trees and President Nixon proclaimed National Arbor Day to be the last Friday in April; however, a number of states honor Arbor Day at other times in the spring season to coincide with prime tree planting periods. California’s Arbor Day is celebrated on March 7, in honor of famed horticulturist Luther Burbank’s birthday.  The celebration may continue until March 14th.
MANY ORGANIZATIONS PARTICIPATE IN ARBOR DAY
City of Davis and Tree Davis
Woodland, The City of Trees
National Wildlife Refuges
National Arbor Day

How to Plan Arbor Day Event

  • Choose the type of tree planting project you’d like to organize:  Adult groups, youth groups, Scout groups, CGCI Youth Gardeners, schools
  • Decide who needs to be involved.  Coordinate sponsors and garden clubs.
  • Organize a planning committee and set a date for the event.  March 7-14 or one that is convenient for your club or community.
  • Recruit volunteers from sponsors and garden clubs
  • Choose the planting site and species and get all necessary permits. Review the success of last year’s event and location
  • Analyze needs and costs.  Set a budget.
  • Raise funds if necessary
  • Order trees and supplies. National Arbor Day Foundation has an online nursery, or solicit local donations.
  • Schedule the event.  Send out press releases to all media and interested groups and select moderator and special speaker.
  • Invite media participation…TV, newspapers, weekly calendars, Social Media.
  • Prepare the site.  Check for good backgrounds for photos.  Bring the club banner and American Flag, if it is to be used.
  • Assemble equipment and supplies.  Who is providing shovels and stakes?
  • Instruct participants and demonstrate proper planting.  Have one person as the instructor.
  • Schedule routine maintenance and care for the following year.
  • Reward volunteers and others who helped.  Action pictures in the newspaper are always a reward.  Send thank you letters.
  • Evaluate the event.  Prepare a report and put it into an Arbor Day Folder.
Examples:
Planting a tree at a local zoo with the help of children and tree planting at a church where the club meets: