7 Arbor Day Facts

April 24, 2015

“Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.” – J. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day

Today is National Arbor Day. If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t know much more than that it’s a day you are supposed to plant a tree. Did you know that Arbor Day was first officially celebrated in Nebraska on April 22, 1885 and has grown to become a recognized holiday around the world? Here are 7 Arbor Day facts about the history of Arbor Day and the trees it celebrates.

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Photo by Jenn Smith

7 Arbor Day Facts: 

  1. National Arbor Day was started by tree lover, Julius Sterling Morton. Morton was also US Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland.
  2. In the US, most states celebrate National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, although Hawaii celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday in November and Alaska celebrates on the third Monday in May.
  3. America’s National Tree is the oak. In 2004, The Arbor Day Foundation held a vote for America’s favorite tree and the oak won by a landslide, earning 101,000 votes.
  4. Arbor Day was almost named Sylvan Day, which means wooded, but Arbor Day was chosen because arbor represented forest and fruit trees.
  5. Arbor means tree in Latin.
  6. It was President Richard Nixon, who, in 1970, declared the last Friday in April to be Arbor Day.
  7. According to the US Forest Service, 100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year.

Planting a tree today? Here are some tips on tree planting from the National Resources Conservation Service.

“If I had the power, I would compel every man in the State who had a home of his own to plant out and cultivate fruit trees.” – J. Sterling Morton

Photo credit: Jenn Smith courtesy of deCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden.

To learn more about deCordova’s upcoming events read this recent Eco News Network story.

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