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What is Arbor Day?

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

National Arbor Day is on April 27, a time when people are encouraged to plant and care of trees. Learn more about this tree-loving holiday.

National Arbor Day is on April 27, a time when people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. It's been 140 years since this holiday was first celebrated and the tradition continues to grow strong.

Planting a tree on Arbor Day


National Arbor Day is on April 27, a time when people are encouraged to plant and care for trees. It's been 140 years since this holiday was first celebrated and the tradition continues to grow strong.

Each generation takes the earth as trustees.



--J. Sterling Morton


History of Arbor Day


According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the first tree-planting holiday called "Arbor Day" was organized by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska. Morton realized the value of trees early on. He recognized the importance of trees as windbreaks to keep soil in place, as a building material commodity, and a natural solution for shade to the hot sun.

The first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals that planted the most trees on that day. As a result, it was estimated that over a million trees were planted in Nebraska that first Arbor Day. Not a shabby start!

Arbor Day quickly gained traction across the nation. Schools use the holiday as an opportunity to teach students about trees and volunteers get together to plant trees at local parks and community centers.

While National Arbor Day is officially celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states observe the holiday on different dates to coordinate with their best tree-planting times so make sure to consult the schedule Arbor Day Dates Across America for local listings.

Celebrating Arbor Day

Planting a tree still is a popular way to celebrate Arbor Day, but there are other ways to get involved if you don't want to get your hands dirty.

  • Go for an educational hike where tree types are pointed out (might be a fun activity for scout or nature group)

  • Take a class about planting and taking care of trees

  • Volunteer with or donate to a local tree-planting organization


The Arbor Day Foundation plants 10 trees for each member that signs up. They'll either send you 10 trees to plant or plant the trees in your honor. This is a year-round offer, but would be a great way to celebrate Arbor Day, don't you think?

Get tips for planting trees.
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