A Mention of Arbor Day

So often at this time of the year I hear about Earth Day. Hippie holiday or educational outreach opportunity, Earth Day is a product of the 1970s and a challenge against poor modern environmental husbandry. Shortly following Earth Day many countries also observe Arbor Day.  It is less popular, celebrated by fewer nations and is 100 years older.

I am not sure why Arbor Day often lingers in Earth Day’s shadow. I suppose it has less media hype behind it, perhaps because it wasn’t created during such a heated era in the United States. (Other countries adopted Earth Day in 1990 and Arbor Day adoptions range from 1805 in Spain to 2008 in the Republic of Macedonia.) Maybe it is because on Earth Day you can discuss environmental husbandry while on Arbor Day you traditionally get your hands dirty and plant a tree.

Hickory sapling

This fresh spring hickory sapling wasn’t planted by humans, but the new year’s growth is always exciting and different. With my gradual removal of the Vinca, many new wildflowers and trees have been able to establish.

All I know is dirt is awesome and both days honor the natural world and foster an excuse for a fun educational experience—at least if you’re a kid. Though most kids neglect these experiences when they grow older and susceptible to more societal pressures, so you might as well make education stimulating for all age and intellectual levels so it permeates through the rest of society.

On the other hand, many ecosystems don’t naturally support trees, so there’s that….but for many regions there used to be trees until demand wiped out the supply or a new subdivision created large plots of lawn and no aesthetics or shade.

Kokanee Forest

Some of the best camping areas are forests, and not even the original forests. Much of North America and Europe was over harvested a long time ago, but some forethought by people and opportunism by nature has grown a new generation of forests.

Trees make a nice addition, especially native species that can integrate into the local ecosystem and not require excessive maintenance because they are adapted for the regional climate and soil…and don’t introduce insects and microbes that transmit diseases originating from another continent that destroy both ornamental native trees planted by cities and large tracts of forest.

Hmm…I didn’t intend this post to be depressing.

I can compensate.

The Arbor Day Foundation runs an excellent web resource for selecting and planting trees, conservation, related pamphlets, public service announces in text and video formats, posters and news articles. They execute many programs that promote good forestry and landscaping practices, as well as ideas for individuals to honor Arbor Day, Tree Planting Day or any other name other countries have for celebrating the plants that built civilization.

Winter creek

Wilderness or urban, trees are some of the best water treatment options.

Lastly, my favorite tree quotes:

“We make an immense mistake when we think of trees as solely an aesthetic member of a community. They cut pollution, they cool the air, they prevent erosion, they muffle sound, they produce oxygen. Then, after all that, they look good.”

–Dr. Richard Leakey

“To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

“The best friend on earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on earth.”

–Frank Lloyd Wright

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”

–Rachel Carson

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself.”

–Thomas Fuller

“I never before knew the full value of trees. Under them I breakfast, dine, write, read and receive my company.”

–Thomas Jefferson

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