A national holiday to commemorate trees, Arbor Day has significant meaning at The Morton Arboretum. Founded by the Morton family as a holiday to celebrate trees, April 29 is an important time to reflect on all trees brings to our daily lives, including cleaner air and water, a stronger sense of community and natural beauty.
The Morton Arboretum celebrates Arbor Day throughout the month of April with a series of events highlighting trees, including the Champion of Trees 10K race, our annual Plant Sale, and the “Dress Like a Tree, Get in Free” event and kids’ costume contest.
2016 Arbor Day events at The Morton Arboretum include:
Sixth-Annual The Champion of Trees 10K
Sunday, April 24
Run for a greener, healthier, more beautiful world during The Morton Arboretum’s 6th annual The Champion of Trees 10K race. A USATF-certified course, the 10K takes runners along the winding roads of the Arboretum and will be followed by a post-race party featuring live music from 90s tribute band Run Forrest Run and a complimentary beer for each participant.
Dress Like a Tree, Get In Free
Friday, April 29
Visit The Morton Arboretum on Arbor Day dressed as a tree and gain free admission all day long! Outfits can range from a green or brown T-shirt and hat or participants can “branch” out and come dressed in a costume masterpiece. Pose for pictures at our photo booth. Younger participants are invited to take part in our Tree-rific Kids’ Costume Contest, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Arbor Day Weekend Celebration in the Children’s Garden
Friday, April 29-Sunday, May 1
Plant tree seeds and hunt for five unique trees throughout the Children’s Garden all weekend long.
Arbor Day Tree Planting with Curious George
Friday, April 29, 11 a.m.
Celebrate Arbor Day with a visit from Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat at the Arboretum.
Enjoy a group reading of “Curious George Plants a Tree,” and join in a tree planting in the Children’s Garden.
Arbor Day Plant Sale
Open to the public Saturday and Sunday, April 30-May 1
Shop a wide array of trees and plants specially chosen by Arboretum experts during the Arbor Day Plant Sale. The sale will include more than 350 species of trees, shrubs, and flowers available for purchase. Shoppers with questions about plants best suited for their landscape can consult with roaming Plant Geniuses. The sale opens to the public on Saturday, April 30, noon-5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Morton Arboretum and Arbor Day
Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care—a special day set aside for planting trees. The Morton Arboretum has a unique connection to Arbor Day. Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton, father of Joy Morton, the founder of the Arboretum. J. Sterling Morton moved to Nebraska in 1854 and found the newly formed territory relatively devoid of trees. To encourage tree planting, he proposed that the state declare April 10 as Arbor Day in 1872, and his proposal was accepted. On that first Arbor Day, it is said Nebraskans planted one million trees. In 1885, Nebraska declared J. Sterling Morton's birthday, April 22, as Arbor Day and made it a legal holiday. Today, all 50 states as well as many countries around the world recognize Arbor Day.