APR 30, 2021 8:59 PM PDT

Celebrating Trees on Arbor Day

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The oldest environmental holiday in the United States is Arbor Day, celebrated on April 30. It's a day for inspiring people to plant trees and reminding everyone of how important trees are to our health and our environment.

Trees surround Crater Lake in Oregon / Image credit: Carmen Leitch

The first Arbor Day was marked in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City. His passion has helped to inspire millions of people to do more to protect and plant trees.

Trees have many benefits. They help remove pollutants and carbon from the atmosphere and generate clean air. They also absorb sediments in soils, and in doing so, help provide clean water. Trees are also known to reduce stress. People that live in urban environments are thought to be at greater risk for anxiety, and trees can help reduce stress and hypertension. Just looking at trees can reduce stress, and people that live on blocks with more trees have been shown to have lower levels of depression.

Arbor Day isn't only an American holiday either. Madagascar is an impoverished nation where people often have to cut down trees for firewood or basic building materials. The Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership is trying to restore tree growth there. They planted their four millionth tree in Madagascar this Arbor Day. The MBP was established in 1998 and turned toward reforestation in 2009. The founder, Dr. Edward E. Louis Jr., the Conservation Genetics Department director at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, knew that even more lemur species were in danger of extinction unless efforts were made to preserve their habitats. The MBP went from a research organization to one that took action.

If you'd also like to take action, learn more about planting trees here. Listen to a podcast about tree care and the importance of trees here.

Source: Arbor Day Foundation

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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