The idea of recognizing and celebrating the planting of trees was conceived by Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraska journalist who later became U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland. The first Arbor Day in Nebraska was celebrated April 10, 1874 and over the years, it evolved into a national holiday as more states recognized the importance of celebrating trees. Today, we celebrate National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April. Many states and localities celebrate Arbor Day on different dates to coincide with planting conditions. For example, Texas recognizes the first Friday in November as Texas Arbor Day, and Houston celebrates Arbor Day on the 4th Saturday in January, this year on January 22.
This year to celebrate the planting of trees, my wife and I volunteered to participate in a tree planting, organized by the Bayou Land Conservancy, in concert with several other organizations. Our planting was done in the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve in Cypress, Texas. The task was simple: Sign up to volunteer, and show up for a 1 ½ hour shift planting assorted trees in a designated area. The trees, equipment and guidance were provided and most of the holes for the larger trees were already dug when we arrived. The weather was perfect for spending time outdoors and the idea of transforming a watershed into a future forest was exciting.
During our shift, we planted approximately 30 5-gallon bucket trees and approximately 16 burr oak seedlings. And, while we were tired afterwards, we both felt inspired as we saw the collective results of our efforts, and our fellow tree planters.
As I’ve noted in previous blogs (see, e.g., Earth Day, 2019, and Let’s Plant More Trees) trees are a very important element to help address climate change. And all of us, whether through financial support for organizations, or hands-on planting, can contribute to having more trees on earth.
It’s easy to get involved and I’m confident, Earth will appreciate it, and more confident, it will benefit all of us.
And let’s not forget, planting trees is something that both Democrats and Republicans support. And that, in itself, is rare!