“Arbor Day is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
–Julius Sterling Morton
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 Australia, Schools Tree Day is held on the last Friday in July, with National Tree Day on the last Sunday of that month.
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.
• Arbor Day was almost called Sylvan Day, which means “wooded.” Several members of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture favored it, but J. Sterling Morton argued that “sylvan” refers only to forest trees and that the name Arbor Day was most inclusive, covering forest trees and fruit trees.
• Because of their strength and great height, oak trees were considered sacred in many ancient cultures.
• The world’s biggest tree by volume is the General Sherman Tree in the Sequoia National Park at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters). The largest sequoias can be as tall as an average 26-story building; their diameters at the base can be wider than many city streets.
• Methusaleh, a Great Basin bristlecone pine, is the oldest non-clonal tree at 4,852 years. And the oldest of all trees is Old Tjikko, estimated to be 9,550.
It’s easy to see that trees are truly amazing—and we’re proud that the Norwex Family recognizes the importance of this global resource. Will you celebrate Arbor Day by supporting trees this year? What might that look like? Please share your plans with our readers in the Comments below. And remember: If you’re not a member of the Norwex Movement, we’d love to have you join us today as together we make small, conscious choices to improve our world.
Thank you Norwex for caring and helping it’s the main reason I became a Norwex Consultant.
I wanted to be part of something bigger and Norwex gives that to me.
My parents are avid master gardeners. I visted them this weekend and they have a tiny forest of grand firs (between 4″ and 8″ tall) that they can’t leave where they are. I took 30 to plant on our wooded hillside to replace the cottonwoods that fell in the last storm.
I have been an active & loyal member of The Arbor Day Foundation for over 15 years. I usually have my membership dues & other contributions go towards replenishing our forests & areas of destruction due to rains, fires & natural disasters. We enjoy driving through National Forests & visiting parks whil on vacations. Cades Cove in Tennessee is one of our favorite places to visit. We love the history, animals, beauty of the trails & all of nature.
That’s wonderful, Pam. It’s so encouraging to see how you and other Norwex Movement members are supporting the environment. Thank you so much!
I am falling more in love with Norwex. This has just given me the feeling that I can actually make a difference, even a small one, just by recycling my old Norwex cloths. I love reading about all the ways I can take part in this green movement. Small steps lead to great things! I am super impressed with this company and can’t wait to see more ways that our family can reduce our carbon footprint and leave a Green legacy! Thank you!
I won’t thank a tree but I will thank God for giving us trees that benefit our lives in so many ways!