Arbor Day: America's Oldest Environmental Holiday
"Plant Trees": A Simple Motto That Is Still Used Today
LISLE, IL (March 12, 2009) - Arbor Day's creation is rooted in Nebraska's Great Plains.
When Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1903)-whose son, Joy, founded The Morton Arboretum-moved from Michigan to Nebraska in 1854, he advocated planting trees for their beauty and as a boon in agriculture. Trees provided windbreaks for soil protection, fuel and building materials, and shade for homesteads.
Morton established a simple motto, one still used today, "Plant Trees."
On January 4, 1872, Morton proposed the idea of the "Arbor Day" holiday at a meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, and a date of April 10, 1872 was selected. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting the largest number of trees that day, and at least one million trees were planted in Nebraska. In the mid- to late-1870s, other states became passing legislation to observe Arbor Day, Today, all 50 states, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as several countries across the globe celebrate Arbor Day.
Morton's statue now stands in the National Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.
A product of the Morton family's commitment to planting trees is The Morton Arboretum, founded in 1922. Joy Morton (1855-1934), founder of the Morton Salt Company, purchased a 175-acre tract of land for the Arboretum, which now comprises 1,700 acres.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally-recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org, click About, and then Press Room, or call to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, 630-725-2103,