Following closely after Earth Day in America, which was established in the 1970’s to bring attention to the importance of our planet, an older secular celebration takes place in many communities across the Globe to honor trees.
Celebrated worldwide since the first Arbor Day celebrations were documented to have taken place about 450 years ago in Spain, the once three-day festivals became more organized in 1805. At that time, a local priest tirelessly declared and memorialized the planting of trees as a way to counter the ravages of the Napoleonic wars. He drafted a manifesto that was soon spread throughout the country saying that trees were vital for health, hygiene, custom and community.
The first Arbor Day Tree – a poplar, was planted in Villanueva de la Siera – the spot marked by a granite monument with a bronze plate dated 1805. Manifestos were drafted and spread throughout the country and beyond in defence of trees and spreading love and respect for nature.
First American Arbor Day
The first American Arbor Day may have no doubt taken place on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, when an estimated one million trees were planted in the state. Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut is credited with globalizing the idea soon after via Arbor Day speeches in several countries on behalf of the American Forestry Association.
The first American Arbor Day was started by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska when on April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted. By 1883, the modern idea of Arbor Day had spread worldwide when advocates described the benefits of public awareness of the value of trees.
McCreight & Pinchot influence President Theodore Roosevelt –
Beginning in 1906, Pennsylvania conservationist Major Israel McCreight criticized President Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation speeches as catering too much to businessmen in the lumber industry. At the time, unfettered clearcutting of forests was taking place with streams and rivers becoming congested and polluted by the millions of trees that were regularly floated downstream to the lumber mills. He called for a campaign of youth education and a national policy on conservation education.
McCreight urged Roosevelt to make a public statement to school children about trees and the destruction of American forests. Conservationist Gifford Pinchot, Chief of the United States Forest Service, embraced McCreight’s recommendations and asked the President to speak to public school children of the United States about conservation.
On April 15, 1907, Roosevelt issued an “Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States” about the importance of trees and that forestry deserves to be taught in U.S. schools and declared the National Holiday. Pinchot wrote of McCreight, “we shall all be indebted to you for having made the suggestion.”
Arbor Day is celebrated worldwide, in various forms and on different dates, mostly dependent on planting seasons.
Some Arbor Day facts found on Bing:
- Trees reduce stormwater runoff
- Trees reduce heating and cooling costs
- Trees increase property value
- Trees sequester carbon dioxide
- Trees improve air quality
- Tree help calm traffic
- Trees help attract business development to an area
- Trees help reduce stress by softening urban environments
- Trees help create sound barriers
- Trees reduce heat in parking lots
Planting Trees –
There are important tips to keep in mind when planting trees that will help with its survival and your enjoyment of this living organism. Planting should begin with careful site selection for the tree species chosen and includes having plenty of water and mulch available. More tips are available the Arbor Day Foundation’s website – https://www.arborday.org/trees/planting/ specific to how the tree was obtained; containerized, bare-root or balled & burlapped.
Places to See and Learn About Trees – Nearby Arboretums
Arbor Day Traditions Around the World, courtesy of Wikipedia –
Arbor Day, also known as National Schools Tree Day, is held on the last Friday of July for schools and National Tree Day on the last Sunday in July throughout Australia, including an Arbor Week in Victoria.
International Day of Treeplanting is celebrated on or around 21 March as a theme-day/educational-day/observance, not as a public holiday. Tree planting is sometimes combined with awareness campaigns of the fight against cancer: Kom Op Tegen Kanker.
The Arbor Day (Dia da Árvore) is celebrated on September 21.
British Virgin Islands
Arbour Day is celebrated on November 22. It includes the International Arbour Day Poetry Competition and tree planting ceremonies throughout the territory.
Cambodia celebrates Arbor Day on July 9 with a tree planting ceremony attended by the king.
Both Arbour Day and Empire Day are celebrated – “the former to give the school children an interest in making and keeping the school grounds attractive, and the latter to inspire the children with a spirit of patriotism”. In Canada, National Forest Week is the last full week of September, and National Tree Day (Maple Leaf Day) falls on the Wednesday of that week. Ontario celebrates Arbour Week from the last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May. Prince Edward Island celebrates Arbour Day on the third Friday in May during Arbour Week. Arbour Day is the longest running civic greening project in Calgary and is celebrated on the first Thursday in May. On this day, each grade 1 student in Calgary’s schools receives a tree seedling to be taken home to be planted on private property.
Central African Republic
National Tree Planting Day is on July 22.
Arbor Day has been a traditional holiday in the Republic of China since 1916. In 1929, it is was declared to be on March 12, to commemorate the death of Sun Yat-sen, who had been a major advocate of afforestation in his life.
In 1979, the People’s Republic of China adopted the Resolution on the Unfolding of a Nationwide Voluntary Tree-planting Campaign. This resolution established Arbor Day and stipulated that every able-bodied citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 should plant three to five trees per year or do the equivalent amount of work in seedling, cultivation, tree tending, or other services. Supporting documentation instructs all units to report population statistics to the local afforestation committees for workload allocation. Many couples choose to marry the day before the annual celebration, and they plant the tree to mark beginning of their life together and the new life of the tree.
Republic of Congo
National Tree Planting Day is on November 6.
“Día del Árbol” is on June 15.
“Dia del Árbol” is today observed in October of each year.
Arbor Day in the Czech Republic is celebrated on October 20.
Arbor Day is on January 15.
Arbor Day (“Tag des Baumes”) is on April 25.
Van Mahotsav (the festival of trees) is an annual pan-Indian tree planting festival, occupying a week in the month of July. During this event millions of trees are planted to create public enthusiasm for planting trees.
- According to the publication, The Times of India (April 13, 2022), Mumbai was recognized as the ‘2021 Tree City of the World” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN) jointly with the Arbor Day Foundation.
- In 2011, India made the Guinness Book of World Records by having 64,096 trees planted in 15 minutes by 7,000 volunteers, beating their previous Guinness record in 2010 of planting 50,033 trees at one time.
In Iran, it is known as “National Tree Planting Day“, and is usually on March 5. This day is the first day of the “Natural Recyclable Resources Week” (March 5 to 12). This is the time when the saplings of the all kinds in terms of different climates of different parts of Iran are shared among the people. They are also taught how to plant trees.
The Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat, the new year for trees, is on the 15th day of the month of Shvat, which usually falls in January or February. Originally based on the date used to calculate the age of fruit trees for tithing as mandated in Leviticus 19:23–25, the holiday now is most often observed by planting trees or raising money to plant trees, and by eating fruit, specifically grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. Tu Bishvat is a semi-official holiday in Israel; schools are open but Hebrew-speaking schools often go on tree-planting excursions.
Japan celebrates a similarly themed Greenery Day on May 4.
National Tree Planting Day is on April 21. Often people plant palm trees and coconut trees along the Indian Ocean that borders the east coast of Kenya.
North Korea marks “Tree Planting Day” on March 2, when people across the country plant trees.
In South Korea, April 5, Singmogil or Sikmogil, the Arbor Day, was a public holiday until 2005. Even though Singmogil is no longer an official holiday, the day is still celebrated, with the South Korean public continuing to take part in tree-planting activities.
National Tree Planting Day is usually on March 21 depending on the lunar cycle.
National Tree Planting Day is on the second Saturday in November.
National Tree Planting Day is on the 2nd Monday of December.
The Día del Árbol was established in Mexico in 1959 on the 2nd Thursday of July.
Since 2010, National Tree Planting Day is on the 2nd Saturday of May and October.
Namibia’s Arbor Day takes place annually on the second Friday of October.
Since conference and of the Food and Agriculture Organization‘s publication World Festival of Trees, and a resolution of the United Nations in 1954: “The Conference, recognising the need of arousing mass consciousness of the aesthetic, physical and economic value of trees, recommends a World Festival of Trees to be celebrated annually in each member country on a date suited to local conditions”; it has been adopted by the Netherlands. In 1957, the National Committee Day of Planting Trees/Foundation of National Festival of Trees (Nationale Boomplantdag/Nationale Boomfeestdag) was created.
On the third Wednesday in March each year (near the spring equinox), three quarters of Dutch schoolchildren aged 10/11 and Dutch celebrities plant trees. Some municipalities however plant the trees around 21 September because of the planting season.
Since 1977, New Zealand has celebrated Arbor Day on June 5, which is also World Environment Day.
Many of the Department of Conservation‘s Arbor Day activities focus on ecological restoration projects using native plants to restore habitats that have been damaged or destroyed by humans or invasive pests and weeds. There are great restoration projects underway around New Zealand and many organisations including community groups, landowners, conservation organisations, volunteers, schools, local businesses, nurseries and councils are involved in them. These projects are part of a vision to protect and restore the indigenous biodiversity.
Having in mind the bad condition of the forest fund, and in particular the catastrophic wildfires which occurred in the summer of 2007, a citizens’ initiative for afforestation was started in North Macedonia. The campaign by the name ‘Tree Day-Plant Your Future’ was first organized on 12 March 2008, when an official non-working day was declared and more than 150,000 Macedonians planted 2 million trees in one day (symbolically, one for each citizen). Six million more were planted in November the same year, and another 12,5 million trees in 2009. This has been established as a tradition and takes place every year.
National tree plantation day of Pakistan is celebrated on 18 August.
Beginning in 1947, the Philippines celebrated planting trees on numerous dates but in 2012, laws were enacted that mandated the planting of at least one tree per year for able-bodied Filipino citizens aged 12 years old and above, last declared to be on June 25 for “the active participation of all government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, private sector, schools, civil society groups and the citizenry in tree planting activity”
Since 2002, on October 10, many Polish people plant trees as well as participate in events organized by ecological foundations. Moreover, Polish Forest Inspectorates and schools give special lectures and lead ecological awareness campaigns.
Arbor Day is celebrated on March 21. It is not a national holiday but instead schools nationwide celebrate this day with environment-related activities, namely tree planting.
All-Russian day of forest plantation was celebrated for the first time on 14 May 2011. Now it is held in April–May (it depends on the weather in different regions).
Arbor Day in Samoa is celebrated on the first Friday in November.
Arbor Day in Saudi Arabia is celebrated on April 29.
National Arbor Week, which lasts annually from 1–7 September. Two trees, one common and one rare, are highlighted to increase public awareness of indigenous trees, while various “greening” activities are undertaken by schools, businesses and other organizations. For example, the social enterprise Greenpop, which focusses on sustainable urban greening, forest restoration and environmental awareness in Sub-Saharan Africa, leverages Arbor Day each year to call for tree planting action. During Arbor Month 2019, responding to recent studies that underscore the importance of tree restoration, they launched their new goal of planting 500,000 by 2025.
In 1896 Mariano Belmás Estrada promoted the first “Festival of Trees” in Madrid. In Spain there was an International Forest Day on 21 March, but a decree in 1915 also brought in an Arbor Day throughout Spain. Each municipality or collective decides the date for its Arbor Day, usually between February and May. In Villanueva de la Sierra (Extremadura), where the first Arbor Day in the world was held in 1805, it is celebrated, as on that occasion, on Tuesday Carnaval. It is a great day in the local festive calendar.
As an example of commitment to nature, the small town of Pescueza, with only 180 inhabitants, organizes every spring a large plantation of holm oaks, which is called the “Festivalino”, promoted by city council, several foundations, and citizen participation.
National Tree Planting Day is on November 15.
National Tree Planting Day is on April 1.
National Tree Planting Day is on March 24.
First mounted in 1975, National Tree Week is a celebration of the start of the winter tree planting season, usually at the end of November. Around a million trees are planted each year by schools, community organizations and local authorities.
Main article: Arbor Day Foundation
Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. By the 1920s, each state in the United States had passed public laws that stipulated a certain day to be Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day observance.
The customary observance is to plant a tree.
- Celebrating 50 years, the Arbor Day Foundation was formed in 1972 with the simple mission, “We plant trees because people need trees. Our health and the health of our planet are interconnected, and the simple act of planting trees benefits both. The Arbor Day Foundation works to connect opportunities, people, and organizations to plant trees and forests to help solve some of the most critical issues facing our planet.”
Venezuela recognizes Día del Arbol (Day of the Tree) on the last Sunday of May.
Desi L. Dunn, Managing Editor
Born & educated in NY with an Environmental Science degree, my husband and I reside in Hardwick with our young daughter and several spoiled pets. This is a true gem in Northwest New Jersey, and my commitment to the people and environs has been shown in the many different fields I've worked - municipal & county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper & radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing, archiological digger and once for a short while in a very huge warehouse.
My favorite was as a reporter where I could take my camera and notebook to capture some of the interesting people and stories around us. I'm thrilled to now serve as RVE's Managing Editor and hope to help fellow writers hone their skills and show you the issues as well as treasures that exist in North Warren, through their eyes.