The origins of Arbor Day date back to 1872, when approximately one million trees were planted at the first celebration held by the day’s creator, J. Sterling Morton. As a pioneer new to the Nebraska territory, Morton missed his tree-covered landscapes and met with the State Board of Agriculture to organize the event for April 10, offering prizes to regions and individuals who properly planted the most trees on that day. By the 1870s many other states were also participating, and only a decade later schools were creating Arbor Day programs. Now Arbor Day is celebrated worldwide (different places celebrate at different times of the year depending on the climate), with many groups and individuals dedicating the day to planting, caring for, or learning about trees. In the United States the national holiday for Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April.
I grew up in typical suburbia, but unlike so many of the new housing developments that have sprung up in the past few years, our neighborhood was filled with mulititudes of mature trees. Our house backed to woods that were so thick you could only see through to the next cul de sac during the most barren months of winter. When I left home and bought my first house one of my main requirements was a nice back yard with trees. The idea of seeing another house in my back yard, or living in a home in the middle of a treeless field made me feel almost claustrophobic — I needed the comfort of being enveloped by trees! After I sold my first house I moved a few miles to the north, settling on a three acre lot surrounded by trees. Here I can enjoy nature from my own front porch.
I mentioned to Chris recently that, in spite of all of our trees, I really missed the magnolia tree I planted in my first house. He was shopping at Home Depot the next Saturday morning (while I took advantage of the chance to get some extra sleep) and he surprised me with a new magnolia tree! We planted it in front of our house and, even though it’s just a tiny thing right now, I know it will be such a delight to watch it grow!