The History and Meaning of Arbor Day

April 12, 2023

We’re all familiar with Arbor Day, but do we know the reason and importance behind this holiday? Celebrated on the last Friday of April, Arbor Day is a significant celebration of our planet’s most vital resource – trees. Keep reading to learn more about the history of Arbor Day and why everyone must recognize and acknowledge it every year.

The History of Arbor Day

The first Arbor Day dates all the way back to 1872. In the late 17th century, pioneers were expanding into the wilderness of Western America. However, after leaving behind the forested landscape of the eastern coast, the pioneers found empty plains without trees or forests. The pioneers needed trees for several reasons, all vital to their survival. For example, without trees, there were no windbreaks to keep fertile soil in place for farming. Furthermore, trees were an excellent fuel source, and most of their building structures were made of wood. Without enough trees, the pioneers could not build a home or feed themselves.

In order to resolve the tree shortage, a newspaper editor named J. Sterling Morton proposed that the community spend an entire day planting trees. This day would become known as Arbor Day and be celebrated annually to sustain tree growth and forest development. The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872. Prizes were awarded to community members who planted the most trees. It is estimated that over 1 million trees were planted that first day! 

Given the continued success of the yearly tradition, it soon became a statewide holiday in Nebraska. Other states began to take notice of the importance and significance of Arbor Day, and by 1920 45 states had also adopted Arbor Day as a holiday. Most states celebrate Arbor Day on the third Friday of April. However, a few states celebrate it at other times of the year. This all depends on the weather and planting conditions and when it would be most effective to plant a new tree. 

Why is Arbor Day Important?

For the pioneers, trees meant survival. Without this resource, they could not plant and grow crops, build their homes, or fuel their fires. Nowadays, trees are still just as important. We may not think about trees as one of the central aspects of our day-to-day lives, but they are! Trees not only serve the same functions for us as they did the pioneers, but they also absorb a large portion of carbon from the atmosphere. They protect us from harmful greenhouse gases and carbon emissions while protecting biodiversity and promoting clean air and water.

Fighting against deforestation is one of the most crucial steps we must take toward a more sustainable future. Without Arbor Day, our tree population would most likely have already dwindled to nothing, which is incredibly harmful to our environment. Plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day this year, and do your part to protect our planet.

A Greener Tomorrow

Celebrating Arbor Day by planting trees is one of the most important ways we can protect and preserve our planet! At Everlight Solar, we dedicate ourselves to clean and sustainable practices in all aspects of our work. Last Earth Day, we donated trees to local Verona school, Savana Oaks Middle School. Several of our team members volunteered their time to visit students at Savana Oaks, and even participated in planting trees! Our staff is committed to protecting our planet in every facet of our lives.

If you’re looking to do more to preserve our home planet, consider going solar. While trees are a vast resource that protects our water and air, they also need clean soil and air to survive. With solar energy, you can use a clean, renewable power source that doesn’t affect our water or air, nor does it release harmful emissions. Do even more to protect our forests, and go solar today! Contact Everlight Solar for a free consultation, and learn all about the power of solar