Arbor Day Celebrating its 150th Anniversary

BROKEN BOW—While many central Nebraska residents may curse the relentless winds and the lack of April showers this year, there is still much to look forward to this spring including the celebration of Arbor Day this Friday, April 29 (which follows last week’s recognition of Earth Day on April 22).

This year marks the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day which was created by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to increase public awareness about protecting the planet.

In addition, Arbor Day is celebrating its 150th anniversary! The holiday originated in Nebraska City in 1872 and was created by Julius Sterling Morton in order to encourage care for the environment by setting a specific day to plant trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation which is recognizing its 50th anniversary in 2022.

On the local level, a recent tree giveaway was hosted and Polly Blackburn said the following,

“[Planting trees] it’s more important than ever because trees actually prevent the earth from drying out. Some people have this idea that trees aren’t good in a drought area because they take up too much water, but it’s actually the opposite is true. The more trees you have the more moisture your soil is going to have, the more shades it’s going to provide,” Blackburn said.

Last month, a local 4-H club helped do its part to keep our community clean this spring. On March 27, 2022 the Four Corners 4-H Club cleaned around the 4-H building at the Custer County Fairgrounds for a club community service project. They cleaned out the flower beds and cleaned up the yard around the 4-H building.

Four Corners 4-H Club

According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, pioneers moved into the Nebraska territory and quickly noticed the lack of trees and therefore the lack of windbreaks to keep soil in place, lack of fuel and building materials, and lack of shade.

Nebraska City resident Julius Sterling Morton worked as a newspaper editor before becoming the Nebraska Territory secretary and proposing Arbor Day to the State Board of Agriculture.

“The trees planted on Arbor Day show a concern for future generations. The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow and, some day, provide wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shelter from the wind and sun, beauty, and inspiration for ourselves and our children,” the Arbor Day Foundation website states.

Governor Pete Ricketts said the following in his April 19 weekly column:

“In Nebraska, we know the importance of good stewardship. Our farmers and ranchers responsibly cultivate the land so future generations of Nebraskans can continue enjoying the Good Life for years to come. It’s why, nearly one hundred years before Earth Day even began, J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day right here in Nebraska City. Our farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists,” the column reads.

Governor Ricketts continued, “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day and the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, remember the decades upon decades of conservation Nebraskans have practiced on our land. We can continue to feed the world and steward our land for future generations without the heavy hand of government.”