School Tours SA

Oct 2014

Where did Arbor Day come from?

Where did Arbor Day come from?

Arbor Day is a celebration that takes place in a number of countries around the world. Every country has its own unique take on it and celebrates it at a different time of the year – depending on how their countries are affected by the changes in seasons.


The Northern Hemisphere tends to have they celebrations at the beginning of the year, while the Southern Hemisphere celebrates towards the end of the year, at the beginning of Spring. South Africa celebrates Arbor Day, and to a larger extent Arbor Week, in the first week of September from the 1st to the 7th.


The first official celebration of Arbor Day was on the 10th of April 1872 in Nebraska, USA. The man who started the trend was Julius Sterling Morton, a Michigan native who moved to Nebraska to become the editor of a newspaper. When he and his wife built their home, they noticed a lack of trees on their property, and while many people assumed that there were none due to the fact that the property and region were not really well suited for it, Morton and his wife decided to go ahead and do it anyway.


The initial reasons Morton gave when he began promoting his new plan were quite different from the reasons we cite when we celebrate the day now. We celebrate Arbor Day in the 21st century in order to promote conservation of natural resources, and allowing trees to grow in abundance, which will increase oxygen production and provide us with a generally cleaner Earth. Morton, however, claimed that planting trees was not only a way to make your property look better, but it would also block high winds, provide a barrier against the harsh rays from the sun, and provide wood and fuel for building and heating.


On Arbor Day, the plan is to have every person plant one tree, thereby showing respect to nature by helping it sustain itself through all of the harm we’ve done. Many schools and organizations have taken to using the day to plant trees in honor of people in the community who they feel have been helpful and have had a significant impact on their lives, bringing an incredible social factor into the day on top of the great ecological advantage it brings.

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