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Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day

April 29, 2022 by Kate Michael
Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day

WASHINGTON — April 29 is the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, a day that reflects appreciation of all trees, founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872. Arbor Day is now celebrated on the last Friday of April across the United States. 

Morton, a journalist, moved to Nebraska to homestead. Together with his wife, he planted trees on the desolate plain and later became editor of the state’s first newspaper, Nebraska City News. He used his platform to spread the word about trees and their ecological importance.

On the very first Arbor Day, Morton led the charge in the planting of approximately 1 million trees. One-hundred fifty years later, planting is still going strong, with private companies partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant millions more.

These are companies like Clayton, a national home builder, which recently announced that in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation it will plant two trees for every estimated tree used for home construction in 2021. This translates to approximately 2.33 million trees planted in forests around the country, helping to restore vital ecosystems, foster biodiversity, improve water and air quality and combat climate change.



In 2019, the Arbor Day Foundation announced ambitious plans through a Time for Trees® initiative to plant 100 million trees by 2022, and actually reached its goal a full year ahead of schedule. 

Now, on the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, tree plantings continue. In addition, the foundation hopes to further educate the public about the benefits of trees, from shade and moderated air temperatures to improved air quality, noise moderation, filtration of run-off into streams and rivers, reduction of energy consumption, and the creation of habitats and food for wildlife. 


The Arbor Day Foundation annually provides inspiration and suggestions for individuals looking to host their own festivities as well as foundation-hosted community celebrations. In addition to planting trees, here are 15 other ways the Arbor Day Foundation hopes the U.S. will honor Arbor Day in 2022:

  • Hold an Arbor Day ceremony and honor the good stewards in your community;
  • Organize a “Big Tree” or “Oldest Tree” search within your community;
  • Host a reception to honor the Tree Board members in your community;
  • Write a story, produce a play, or present a skit about trees;
  • Choose a public park or downtown area to clean up;
  • Read a book about trees;
  • Hold an Arbor Day Birthday Party for the community;
  • Sponsor a craft show featuring exhibitors who engage in crafts with natural materials;
  • Schedule classes on tree pruning, tree selection, tree identification and tree planting;
  • Hold a Read-In at the library;
  • Host a concert;
  • Sponsor a poster contest, poetry contest, or tree trivia contest;
  • Organize a tree identification hike;
  • Volunteer with a local tree-planting organization;
  • Encourage neighborhood organizations to hold Arbor Day block parties.

Kate can be reached at [email protected]

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