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Growing up in Nebraska, I remember celebrating Arbor Day every year while I was in school. It was a big celebration in my state and school, because Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska.
I have lived in Texas for over 8 years and Arbor Day is not a big deal in the state and even the schools. Therefore, I decided to take a break from my originally scheduled articles on finances and discuss ways to celebrate a holiday that gives back to the environment!
The first unofficial Arbor Day was celebrated in 1872. During this Arbor Day, it was estimated that more than a million trees were planted in Nebraska. Two years later, Arbor Day was once again celebrated on April 10, 1874, after the governor proclaimed the date as the holiday. One year later, the Arbor Day became an official Nebraska holiday and the date was changed to April 22, because it was the birthday of the inventor of the holiday (J Sterling Morton).
Soon after that first official Arbor Day, states across the union began to observe the holiday. Over time, the holiday has spread to every state. The federal government recognizes the national Arbor Day as the last Friday in April (just like in Nebraska).
However, states across the union celebrate Arbor Day at different times, because of tree planting calendars. Here in Texas Arbor Day is celebrated in November. You can find out when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state by clicking on this interactive map from the Arbor Day Foundation.
Ways to Celebrate
1. Plant a Tree
Could you call me Mr. Obvious here? Arbor Day is the tree planting holiday and planting a tree is the best way to celebrate. However, people in apartments or people living in a state that does not celebrate Arbor Day in April may not be able to plant a tree. What else can you do?
2. Become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation
By becoming a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant 10 trees in your honor. These trees can be planted in a National Forest, Rain Forest or you can have them ship you 10 trees. This membership costs $10 for a 6-month membership or $15 for a year long membership.
Since I live in a state where Arbor Day falls in November, I believe I will be celebrating National Arbor Day by becoming a member of the Arbor Day foundation. Ten to fifteen dollars well spent in my opinion.
3. Purchase a Greeting Card from the Arbor Day Foundation
Every greeting card that you purchase plants a tree. The inside of the card reads, "In your honor, a tree has been planted in a National Forest." These cards are called "Give-a-tree" cards and you can purchase them in honor of family and friends.
4. Attend your cities Arbor Day Celebration
You can check the Tree City USA directory to find out if your city is a Tree City USA city. These Tree cities hold tree planting celebrations every year. Find one in your area and help plant a tree! For example, Houston has been a Tree City for 32 years. Check it out, it's cool to see if your city is a Tree City USA.
5. Talk to your kids about Arbor Day or Go for a Hike and focus on the trees
Trees play an important role in our everyday life and you could talk to your child about the importance of trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has some teaching tools on their website and a list of reasons that trees are important.
- Trees Tame Stormwater (we may need more trees in Houston to help with the flooding problems)
- Trees provide us with oxygen.
- Trees contribute to our health (much like being out in nature)
- Trees help clean our drinking water.
- Trees provide much-needed cooling.
- Trees provide vital wildlife habitat.
Financial Benefits of Trees
You just had to know that I was not going to get through an article without talking about the financial benefits. The Arbor Day Foundation has researched and found ways that trees can help your pocketbook as a homeowner. Below are a few statistics found on the Arbor Day website on ways that trees can have a financial benefit.
- The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. - U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Trees can boost the market value of your home by an average of 6 or 7 percent according to Dr. Lowell Ponte.
- Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent. - Management Information Services/ICMA
- Carefully positioned trees can reduce a household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling by up to 25%. Computer models devised by the U.S. Department of Energy predict that the proper placement of only three trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually. - energy.gov
- Trees increase our property values (Stats found on Arbor Day Website)
- In Portland, Oregon, homes with street trees sold for $7,130 more, on average, and 1.7 days more quickly. - US Forest Service, 2008 study
- In Fulton County (Atlanta), Georgia, mature trees positively influenced home sale prices. Homes sold for nearly $105,000 more in neighborhoods with mature trees. - University of Georgia, 2002 study
Amazingly, a simply tree can increase property values and decrease the energy costs. Seems like a pretty good investment to me. The one downfall, they take so long to grow. Planting a tree today will take years of growth, before you will see the added benefit of shade or property value increase.
Of course, this article wasn't about the financial benefits of a tree, but about the holiday that was invented to plant trees all over the country. At the time of its inception, Nebraska was a barren land with minimal trees. Over the years, people have made trees a cherished thing within the state.
Will you take the time on Friday, April 27th to plant a tree or do something that will help a tree to be planted?