child planting a treeAbout Arbor Day 

Most states in the United States and most of the provinces in Canada, celebrate Arbor Day.  Many other countries also have days or weeks for planting trees.   School children especially take part in this special holiday.

In Israel, for example, they celebrate Tu B'Shebat meaning "the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month Shebat."  This day is also known as the New Year for Trees.  In ancient times, this day was celebrated by planting trees for the children born during the year.  A cedar tree was planted for each boy and a cypress tree for each girl.

Arbor Day began in the United States in 1872 in Nebraska.  J. Sterling Morton, a newspaperman, knew how important trees were to the land so he began the idea.  The state offered prizes to the groups and people who planted the most trees.  On that first Arbor Day, the people of Nebraska planted more than one million trees.

For a long time, Arbor Day was celebrated on April 22nd, the same day as Morton's birthday but now most of us celebrate it on the last Friday of the month of April.

Some states (and countries) celebrate it at different times to coincide with the best time of year to plant trees so that the young trees (called saplings) planted have the best chance of survival -- earlier in warmer climates and later in the year in colder ones.

You can celebrate arbor day by planting a tree where you live, or make it even more exciting by holding poetry contests, drawing contests or putting on skits about trees!


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