Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Arbor Day

When did it start? Where did it start? Who started it? It's celebrated in April. Next year it will be April 24th. This last weekend I visited the home of Arbor Day...Nebraska City, NE.

The History of Arbor Day

The idea for Arbor Day originally came from Nebraska. A visit to Nebraska today wouldn't disclose that the state was once a treeless plain. Yet it was the lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s.

Among pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.

Morton was a journalist and soon became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper. Given that forum, he spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to an equally enthusiastic audience.

His fellow pioneers missed their trees. But, more importantly, trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun.

Morton not only advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, but he also encouraged civic organizations and groups to join in. His prominence in the area increased, and he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees.

(and if you think the name Morton sounds familiar...his son started the Morton salt company.)

A visit to the Arbor Day farm is an educational one. The thousands of apple trees are fascinating. I heard names of apples I'd never heard before.

We stayed at the Lied Lodge next to the farm. What a fabulous place!

read more about it here: