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Celebrate Arbor Day

Arbor Day is the holiday Nebraska gave to the world.  The first celebration of Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872.  The idea for Arbor Day originally came from pioneer J. Sterling Morton who moved to Nebraska from Detroit, Michigan. Upon arrival in Nebraska, he was dispirited by the lack of trees.  His wife and he were nature lovers, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly overflowing with trees, shrubs, and flowers.  Morton was the editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper.  As an early proponent of forestation, he used this platform to promote “tree plantings” in cities and towns.  He organized a contest in which the prize, “a farm library of twenty-five dollars’ worth of books to the person who, on that day, shall plant properly, in Nebraska, the greatest number of trees.”  Nearly one million trees were planted that first Arbor Day.  The winner on the prize was one J.D. Smith, who planted an unbelievable 35,500 trees in one day.  In 1885 the Nebraska state legislature named Arbor Day a legal holiday and selected April 22, Morton’s birthday, as the date for its permanent observance.

Today, all states celebrate Arbor Day by legislation, official proclamation, or public acclaim, although the dates vary according to local climate.  Officially, the last Friday in April is celebrated as National Arbor Day.  Arbor Day has now spread beyond the United States and is observed in many countries of the world.  In some it is the king or queen who leads the national celebration, and in many countries exotic trees not suited to North America are planted in commemoration of the day.

Idaho celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April.  However, many communities in Idaho choose to celebrate the holiday on different dates due to weather considerations and other factors.  The Idaho Department of Lands, in cooperation with U.S. Bank, offers an Arbor Day grant to provide financial assistance to communities for celebrating the holiday.

So What Should You Do For Arbor Day?

Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day

How to Plant Trees