J. Sterling Morton initiated the holiday in 1872 in Nebraska and is credited as the father of Arbor Day nationally. Virginia adopted the concept and sets the last Friday in April as the day of our state Arbor Day.
Arbor Day activities can occur throughout the month; here are some ideas for activities in your area:
- Hold an Arbor Day ceremony and honor the good stewards in your community. Consider honoring people who have initiated or completed projects like establishing a tree planting or recycling program, identifying or planting an arboretum, or raising funds and getting permission for an outdoor learning center.
- Plant a tree at City Hall or the Court House. Have the Mayor issue an Arbor Day Proclamation.
- If your community is a designated Tree City USA, have a reception to honor this accomplishment.
- Choose a public park or downtown area that needs cleaning up and pitch in to clear it of litter. Recycle what you can and dispose of the rest properly.
- Offer demonstrations on tree pruning, tree selection, tree identification, and tree planting. Contact a local arborist or county forester for assistance.
- Garden clubs, churches and civic groups can plant a tree in memory of members who died the previous year.
To get you started, here are some of the major issue points to learn about healthy trees are:
- Virginia grows trees for two reasons. Rural trees are managed through sustainable forestry to create one of Virginia 's greatest commercial industries - wood and wood products people need in daily life. In our towns and cities, trees are grown and cared for to provide economic, environmental, and social values for everyone.
- Forested land is lost each day in Virginia's urban environments because of rapid land development. While development meets the needs of a growing city, maintaining trees and their health is even more important because of the economic, environmental, and social values trees bring to daily life.
- The health of new and existing trees is dependent on elected officials, businesses, and residents working together to create and enforce best practices for tree maintenance, local tree ordinances, and seeking advice from experts within Virginia's tree community.
- Urban residents benefit from trees in savings on utility bills, increased property values, cleaner water and air, and environments that discourage crime and enhance the learning capabilities of children. Business thrives in tree-lined districts, which attracts more business and adds to the economic vitality of the region.
- Many community values are dependent on the health of our trees. The concern for their health is everyone's responsibility. Everyone needs to take a leadership role in increasing funding and programs for parks, trees, and greenspace. It's your urban forest, learn it, grow it, maintain it, enjoy it.