Pathway in forest

As someone who appreciates being in nature, I want to give a shout out for Arbor Day, which will be celebrated this year on Friday, April 29th. This holiday happens to also be celebrated in the same month as National Park Week, which was observed this month, the 16th through the 24th. 

I’ve written previously about my enjoyment of the National Parks and Wildlife Refuges’ that our federal agencies plan, maintain, and manage, for our enjoyment. In fact, I’m just back from a few days of camping in the beautiful North Carolina region of Maggie Valley, and what a great time it was. Spent several days hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park admiring the beautiful wildflowers, along with the massive size of the Elk that appear in the meadows in the evening. Depending on the elevation, the hints of the arrival of Spring were different. I do believe we actually could see the leaves growing on the trees around our campsite. Just little buds when we arrived, and full out different shades of green when we left. Mother Nature is fascinating!

The idea for Arbor Day was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, a journalist from Nebraska, who later became the U.S. Agriculture Secretary under President Grover Cleveland. The day was first celebrated in the U.S. on April 10, 1874. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt issues an Arbor Day Proclamation to students. In part he told them, “It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetimes the Nation’s need for trees will become serious. When you help to preserve our forests or to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forest, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.” In 1970, President Richard Nixon declared Arbor Day a national holiday.

So, how will you celebrate and recognize the importance of all the beautiful trees around you on the 29th? Here are a few ideas:

The benefits we receive from trees include helping to: keep waterways clean, prevent climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon, and releasing oxygen, reduce air pollution, reduce noise pollution, conserve energy in communities, and provide windbreaks to keep homes safer from tropical storms and hurricanes. 

Mark your calendars now for some “me time” to purposefully stop to admire and enjoy the beauty of the trees and forests around you!