Arbor Day is April 30th, an observance that began in 1872 when the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture adopted a resolution creating a day set aide to plant trees. The holiday spread throughout the United States and is observed in many countries around the world. California’s observance is March 7th, and coincides with the birthday of botanist Luther Burbank. Today, many communities organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events to coincide with the holiday. But whichever day we observe, it’s a call to action.
In California, the Legislature first proclaimed California Arbor Day on March 7, 1974 to encourage people to plant trees and organize civic engagement in protecting urban trees. Trees moderate temperature extremes and reduce energy consumption. They also reduce emissions and air pollution and help meet statuary pollution limits by sequestering carbon. Trees remove airborne pollutants from the atmosphere, help purify our water supplies by reducing surface runoff, aid water management and protect water resources. Trees are also a valuable economic asset that can maintain and increase property values and attract new businesses to urban areas. They enhance the aesthetic quality of our communities by functioning as natural barriers for surface noise, and provide badly needed habitat for wildlife, including birds and many threatened or endangered species.
A recent study by the U.S. Forest Service indicated that our nation’s cities lose around 175,000 acres or 36 million trees each year. That trend can be reversed.
California is a national leader on climate protections and emission reductions. Planting trees is a simple, but significant step that will improve and enhance our environment. It’s a step we all can take -- and we certainly don’t need to limit our tree planting activities to just one or two days each year.
Trees are wonderful! Let’s plant more of them.