Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.
As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. The tree has appeared throughout history and literature as the symbol of life.
The idea for Arbor Day in the United States originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Among the pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was Julius Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife, Caroline, were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.
In 1872, the State Board of Agriculture accepted a resolution by Julius Morton “to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit.”
The trees planted on Arbor Day show a concern for future generations. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow and provide wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shelter from the wind and sun, beauty and inspiration, for everyone.
By 1920, more than 45 states and territorial possessions were celebrating Arbor Day. Today, it is commemorated in all 50 states.
For many years, Arbor Day was observed on Julius Morton’s birthday, April 22, but today, National Arbor Day is usually celebrated on the last Friday in April.
Many states and municipalities have implemented state or locally recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region. Florida celebrates Arbor Day the third Friday in January — a tradition that began in 1886.
Visit ArborDay.org to learn when Arbor Day is recognized in each of the states.
Pasco County celebrates Arbor Day
What: Memorial Tree Celebration
When: The Dade City Garden Club and the City of Dade City will host an Arbor Day Memorial Tree Celebration Jan. 19 at 10 a.m., at the garden club, at 13630 Fifth St.
Details: Dade City is an official “Tree City,” which means it has a tree ordinance in place, maintains core standards of sound urban tree management, contributes funding, and celebrates Arbor Day.
Memorial trees, dedicated in memory or in honor of a special person or occasion, will be recognized by Deborah Garnett Parks, president, and Gail Stout, chairperson.
Trees will be planted by city staff at the Garden Center and the Hardy Trail at Church Avenue and Ninth Street, and a small memorial plaque is placed in front of the tree.
The program also will feature a Proclamation from the City of Dade City to be read by Mayor Camille Hernandez, and speakers from the Florida Forest Service, University of Florida IFAS Extension.
The event is open to the public.
Info: Call Gail Stout at (352) 567-0607.
What: Arbor Day Celebration
When: Jan. 19 starting at 11 a.m. at Frances Avenue Park, 5580 Frances Ave., New Port Richey
Details: Trees, free seedling will be available, while supplies last. Seedling species will include Pawpaw, redbud maple, sycamore, wild black cherry, hoptree and sassafras.
There will be a children’s program about trees, the city’s Public Works department and the children will plant trees as part of the celebration and the city’s designation as a National Tree City USA.
Free seedlings also will be available at Tasty Tuesdays on Jan. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon, at the New Port Richey City Library on Main Street.
Approximately 600 seedlings will be handed out to the community during the week of Arbor Day.
Published January 17, 2018