National Arbor Day
"Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future." These are the words of J. Sterling Morton, the originator of the Arbor Day idea. He was among the many pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854. With the decided lack of trees on the Nebraskan plains, Morton made it his cause to plant trees, not just for beautification but also to preserve the soil. He encouraged civic organizations to join in the effort, proclaiming the first Arbor Day in 1872. By 1885, Arbor Day was officially observed by the entire state and then by other states and schools nationwide. Today the most common date for the state observances is the last Friday in April, although many states celebrate it whenever conditions there are best for planting trees. Several U.S. presidents have proclaimed a national Arbor Day. Check out The National Arbor Day Foundation Web site, which includes forests of information.