Celebrate Arbor Day – Plant a Tree
Posted by Kathy King /
A visit to Nebraska today wouldn’t disclose that the state was once a treeless plain. Yet it was the lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s. Among pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton. He and his wife were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs and flowers. Morton was a journalist and soon became editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper – through which he spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to an equally enthusiastic audience. His fellow pioneers missed their trees. But more importantly, trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil from blowing and for fuel and building materials, as well as shade from the hot sun. In 1872, Morton first proposed a tree planting holiday to be called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.