You might call Arbor Day a grassroots effort to support the future of trees globally. “Arbor” comes from the Latin word for “tree,” and over 44 countries have set aside a day (or even a week) each year to celebrate trees and all the benefits they provide.
In countries all over the world, a form of Arbor Day is celebrated as young and old alike come together to plant trees and foster and support ecological awareness.
In the U.S., Arbor Day dates to 1872, when J. Sterling Morton helped plant an estimated 1 million trees in Nebraska. While Arbor Day is now celebrated nationally on the last Friday in April (April 30 this year), many states have a time designated that coincides with the optimal tree-planting conditions in that area.
Canada’s National Forest Week is the last full week in September, and various provinces have celebrations at other times of the year too.
In Germany, “Tag des Baumes” has been celebrated on April 25 for more than 60 years.
In the U.K, schools, community organizations and local authorities plant about a million trees every year during National Tree Week, usually around the end of November (November 27 – December 5, this year).
New Zealand celebrates Arbor Day on June 5, also known as World Environment Day. Activities focus on indigenous biodiversity and ecological restoration projects using native plants.
In China, able-bodied citizens from ages 11 to 60 are encouraged to plant up to five trees a year or to lend a hand in cultivating trees. Chinese couples often marry the day before the annual celebration of Arbor Day on March 12 and mark the beginning of their new life together with the planting of a tree.
In Norway, the national government oversees year-round efforts to preserve forests, especially areas that harbor endangered species of animals. Today, Norway has tripled the amount of standing wood in forests compared to 100 years ago, when much of this natural resource was consumed through logging.
And here at Norwex, we’re in proud alignment with our Norwegian roots. In fact, since Norwex’s inception our sustainability initiatives have saved over 31,000 trees in North America alone, thanks to smarter packaging and the use of recycled materials. Many of our Consultants are also directly responsible for the planting of thousands of trees through their participation in various Norwex® incentive programs.
While trees provide wood, fruit, shelter and even oxygen to support our planet, they also have a number of not-so-obvious benefits. For example their leaves can absorb air pollutants like ozone, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. And according to The Nature Conservancy, research has linked the presence of urban trees to:
1. Filtering up to a third of fine particle pollutants within 300 yards of a tree.
2. Cooling city streets by 2º–4º F, reducing deaths from heat and cutting energy use.
3. Reducing rates of cardiac disease, strokes and asthmas due to improved air quality.
4. Protecting biodiversity, including habitat for migrating birds and pollinators.
5. Reducing obesity levels by increasing physical activity, including walking and cycling.
6. Managing stormwater, keeping pollutants out of waterways and reducing urban flooding.
7. Increasing neighborhood property value.
8. Reducing stress by helping interrupt thought patterns that lead to anxiety and depression.
Here are a few tips from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for tree planting and care:
• Early spring is a good time to plant trees. Enjoy our post on How to Plant a Tree!
• Also, watch our short video on How to Plant a Fruit Tree.
• Finally, let’s take good care of the trees that we do have! Here are pruning pointers for shrubs and trees.