Hug a Tree

Planting a tree with hands
Hands planting a tree

April 10, 1872
First Arbor Day

Go out and plant a tree today–a pine, an elm, an oak, a mimosa–it doesn’t matter what kind.

On April 10, 1872, Nebraskans celebrated the first Arbor Day by planting more than a million trees. Julius Sterling Morton, a newspaper editor and former governor, saw his dream fulfilled after years of asking Congress to designate a day to encourage the planting of trees. In 1885, the Nebraskans moved the date to April 22 in honor of Morton’s birthday. Today people celebrate Arbor Day worldwide on the last Friday in April. Do you celebrate Arbor Day? Where did you first hear of this holiday?

You may have heard of Arbor Day at school. Observed by all the states by 1907, schoolchildren helped out the most to keep the day alive and growing. Arbor Day programs urged children to plant a tree as a patriotic act, as a good investment for the future, and as a way to beautify the community. Conservationists (people who work to protect nature) today would encourage you to plant a willow, a redwood, a birch, or a palm to help in the battle against deforestation (the clearing of trees from a location). Can you imagine a world without trees? Celebrate Arbor Day!