The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 2023 in Nebraska.  It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan.  Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.  But his most important legacy is Arbor Day. 
Morton felt that Nebraska's landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees.  He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbours to follow suit.  Morton's real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska's state board of agriculture.  He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees.  Nebraska's first Arbor Day was an amazing success.  More than one million trees were planted.  A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton's birthday.
In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton's idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days.  Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.  Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia.  Variations are celebrated as 'Greening Week' of Japan, 'The New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, 'The Tree-loving Week' of Korea, 'The Reforestation Week' of Yugoslavia, 'The Students' Afforestation Day' of Iceland and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India.  Julius Sterling Morton would be proud.  Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.

State Arbor Days

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 
~ Margaret Mead 
Join The National Arbor Day Foundation

For your $10 membership get:

10 Flowering trees

10 Colorado Blue Spruces 

Your 10 free trees are guaranteed to grow, or the Foundation will replace them free of charge. Your six to twelve inch trees will come postpaid with easy planting instructions. To be sure that your trees arrive in a strong and healthy condition, we ship bare root stock only when it is dormant in the fall and spring seasons. If the trees are not hardy in your area, similar trees selected to grow in your climate will be provided. Trees are sent according to your local climate and this year's weather. 
Fall Shipping:  We have to wait for a couple of hard frosts so the trees go dormant and can be shipped safely. Trees can be planted until the ground is frozen solid. Fall shipments are made between October 15 and December 10.

Spring Shipping: Our trees can be planted during a broad range of weeks or months -- from when the frost first leaves the ground through late spring. Spring shipments are made between February 1 and May 31.

Give Trees for Celebration
Give Trees in Memory of a Loved One
Join for Rain Forest Rescue
For every $10 you contribute, The National Arbor Day Foundation will save a 2,500 square foot area of rain forest in your name.
Send a Tree Card
Send virtual greeting cards to your family 
and friends who care about trees — or who should!  The cards contain tree-related photos, 
quotes, drawings, and animations.  You can customize your card by  typing a message of any length
Arbor Day - Friday, April 25, 2023
Things you can do to celebrate Arbor Day!

Plant a tree in your yard, or participate in your city's tree-planting program. Many communities plant trees in parks and schoolyards on Arbor Day! 

Walk around your neighborhood and take a tree inventory. See how many different types of trees you can identify. Are there places where another tree could be planted? 

While you're taking your tree inventory, keep a log of the types of animals that use your neighborhood trees. What types of animals do you see? (Bugs? Squirrels? Birds?) Do they use the trees for food, for shelter, or for some other purpose? Your answers might surprise you!