Teacher Guide to Arbor Day
What a beautiful world in which we live and Arbor Day plays an important role. It is the day chosen across the United States to plant trees and other greenery to add beauty to our country. Under the guidance of a man named Julius Morton, a program was adopted to improve the landscape and build up the economy of the United States by planting trees.
Moving to Nebraska from Michigan, Mr. Morton and his wife missed the forests of their eastern heritage. They felt that this strange new plain land needed to have more trees and plants. So the Morton's worked to plant orchards, trees and shrubs on their new 160 acre land claim and encouraged their neighbors to do the same. Many of the trees were planted to be wind breaks in the dusty stark terrain. Before long, the growing results on the barren Nebraska land were being enjoyed.
Mr. Morton became a member of Nebraska's State Board of Agriculture and served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture. It was during this time in 1872, that he asked that this special day be adopted to plant trees. It was an immediate success and more than a million trees were planted that year. This is known as the very first Arbor Day. Following a second very successful planting event, it became a legal holiday in 1885 on April 22, the date of Mr. Morton's birthday.
Arbor Day later spread beyond Nebraska to the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Kansas and Minnesota. All the other of the fifty states soon joined in this important celebration. America was becoming a country of beautiful flora (plants and trees). In 1970, President Richard Nixon changed Arbor Day to the last day in April which many states still celebrate today. Depending on the climate of each state, other days have also been chosen that were more beneficial to that particular area. Since the beginning, many other countries around the world have joined in the event by proclaiming a day to plant trees and with great success. Countries such as Australia, Korea, Japan, Israel, Iceland and India have learned the importance of tree planting.
Arbor Day is a great way to build community spirit. People with enthusiasm about their towns and cities will proudly participate by planting trees. Parks and recreation areas have become places to enjoy while spending time outdoors in nature. Property and home owners can use Arbor Day as a good chance to beautiful landscaping and build property values.
Sometimes, good ideas grow and become great! This was the case with Julius Morton. He could never have known how much of an impact his idea of planting trees would make over time. His plan is still helping to beautiful the world today. Even though other holidays were being celebrated, Julius Morton knew that these other holidays rested upon the past. Arbor Day is a holiday that looks to and supports future generations. Generations like ours. The trees we plant today will be enjoyed for hundreds of years to come. With the flora in place, it is never long before the fauna (animal population) grows. So, plan to do your part and plant a tree to show your pride in our country.