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Arbor Day on April 26 celebrates trees and 'represents a hope for the future'

Arbor Day on Friday, April 26, 2024 — a secular day of observance in the U.S. — helps celebrate and emphasize the importance of planting trees. 

“While most holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering, Arbor Day represents a hope for the future,” Dan Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation in Lincoln, Nebraska, told Fox News Digital. 

“The simple act of planting a tree represents a belief that the tree will grow to provide us with clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities and natural beauty — all for a better tomorrow.”

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Arbor Day is widely known as the tree planter’s holiday, and Lambe said the day is marked for people to come together in recognition of the wonders of trees. 

“Communities, schools, businesses and individuals alike unite to plant trees, provide education on tree planting and care and celebrate all the benefits trees offer,” he indicated (info is available at arborday.org/celebrate). 

What’s the role of the Arbor Day Foundation?

Created in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. 

“With a focus on communities and forests of greatest need, the foundation — alongside its more than one million members, supporters and valued partners — has helped to plant more than 500 million trees in more than 50 countries,” said Lambe.

What’s the history of Arbor Day?

The Arbor Day holiday was born out of a need for trees, said Lambe.

“As pioneers began moving into the Nebraska Territory, the lack of trees was felt deeply. There were no trees to provide windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun and trees were a tool to navigate those challenges,” Lambe said.

Tree quiz

The first Arbor Day was on April 10, 1872, and the Arbor Day Foundation estimates that over one million trees were planted in Nebraska that day.

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By 1920, more than 45 states and territories were celebrating Arbor Day. 

“Trees clean our air and water, provide nourishment, increase our mental health, provide relief from a warming climate, sequester carbon” and more.  

“Today, National Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and trees are viewed as a tool to address some of the world’s most pressing issues,” Lambe said. 

“Trees clean our air and water, provide nourishment, increase our mental health, provide relief from a warming climate, sequester carbon and are part of the solution to fight climate change.”

Why is Arbor Day an ideal way to raise awareness of trees?

The universal appeal and messaging behind Arbor Day is that it’s a chance for everybody to plant trees.

“When you commit to celebrating Arbor Day and supporting planting projects in communities and forests of great need, you’re growing good for all of us. Every tree matters,” said Lambe.  

Kumquat

This Arbor Day, events are happening all over the country; those interested can check what’s happening in their area, purchase trees from the Arbor Day Foundation’s online nursery, and get involved as a member.

“Not many nonprofits get to say they have their own holiday,” Lambe said. 

“We have an unmatched network of local nonprofit tree-planting organizations that help us understand their local environment.”

“We feel very fortunate that we are one of the lucky ones — and we try to use that moment on the calendar each year to rally, celebrate and bring awareness to all the things trees can do for the planet.”

To that point, the holiday’s spot on the calendar couldn’t come at a better time for tree planters and lovers of the outdoors.  

young woman hiking with backpack

“Springtime is about rebirth and renewal, and each spring when it starts to get a little warmer outside and winter is officially over, there’s a collective appreciation for the outdoors and the importance that nature plays in our lives,” Lambe told Fox News Digital. 

How is the nonprofit involved in community grassroots efforts?

A network of planting partners exists on the ground in communities across the country and world. 

“We have an unmatched network of local nonprofit tree-planting organizations that help us understand their local environment and the needs and challenges of their communities,” he noted.

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One such partner is Tree Pittsburgh, an organization with a mission to protect the region’s urban forest through education, advocacy, community tree planting and maintenance.  

“Arbor Day is celebrated all month long at Tree Pittsburgh,” said Danielle Crumrine, executive director at Tree Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

“We have many plantings, tree giveaways, education programs, and tree care events planted throughout the month,” she said. 

tree for planting

There are two large Arbor Day celebrations planned in Pittsburgh, at Mellon Park and Riverview Park. 

“These family-friendly events will include educational offerings, tree giveaways, ceremonial tree plantings, food vendors, and more,” said Crumrine. 

Event details are listed at www.treepittsburgh.org.

Crumrine is a trustee with the foundation and is also a member of the Alliance for Community Trees. “It’s an association for tree-planting organizations across North America that is managed by the foundation,” she said. 

“I have the opportunity to weigh in on new programs and provide ideas for strategies to engage more people in tree planting and tree care,” she said, “and I make connections between like-minded organizations and the Arbor Day Foundation and the Alliance for Community Trees.” 

Why is Arbor Day so important?

In a time of divisiveness and strife, Lambe said there is one thing everybody can agree on: trees. 

“Trees are a piece of Americana like blue jeans, apple pie and baseball,” he said. 

“Everybody loves trees and that’s what makes our mission so wonderful,” he said. 

“Every corner of America understands the value of trees and we are committed to giving that opportunity to everyone. The national Arbor Day holiday is the best time to reinforce and remind America that now is the time for trees.”

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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