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Urban & Community Forestry
America's National Tree Holiday
Fall foilage complimenting a commercial building and parking lot
What is Arbor Day?
Arbor Day is America's National Tree Holiday, the day we set aside to plant ceremonial trees, educate children about the importance of trees, and honor the important role trees play in our daily lives. The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day. Morton proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Nebraska's first Arbor Day was an amazing success. More than one million trees were planted. A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton's birthday.
In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton's idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days. Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate (State Arbor Days). At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.
For more information on Arbor Day, visit the National Arbor Day Foundation website at www.arborday.org.

What is Arbor Week?
Audio interview - Arbor Week, Tree Cities USA, and more 
In Oregon, we set aside an entire week to honor trees. The Oregon State Legislature has decreed that the first full week in April shall be designated as Arbor Week. The Oregon Revised Statutes read: 

Section 336.015 Arbor Week.
(1) The first full week in April shall be known as Arbor Week. In order that pupils in the public schools shall be made better aware of the benefits of the preservation and perpetuation of forests and the growing of timber and of the environment, the district school board shall cause to be conducted, during school hours, activities which tend to encourage the planting, protection and preservation of trees and shrubs and a greater understanding of the environment and means for preserving and improving it.
(2) The Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the approval of the State Board of Education and with the technical assistance of the State Forester, may prescribe and alter a schedule of activities and instruction to be observed during Arbor Week.
(3) The State Forester or person in charge of the state tree nurseries may release for use by schools upon application thereof seedlings that would otherwise be destroyed. [Formerly 336.350; 1971 c.83 s.1; 1983 c.158 s.1]