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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Naperville Gardener – Did you know when the first recorded Arbor Day was?


Did you know that the first recorded Arbor Day was in Spain in 1594?

In the village of Mondonedo, a granite marker and trees still mark the spot. In a nearby village, a priest became a hero for trees. He was eager to share his conviction that trees are important for health, the environment and their magical contributions to holidays. What would Christmas be without our lavishly decorated trees? The priest added the planting of trees to the celebration of Carnival. After Mass, the first tree was planted and decorated with religious ornaments. Since this event was such a success, he sent trees to neighboring villages and encouraged them to plant more trees on their own.

Today Arbor Day is celebrated around the world, dependent on suitable planting conditions, each country in their own special way. In Australia, National Schools Tree Day is the last Friday in July and National Tree Day is the last Sunday in July. Belgium celebrates in late March, often in conjunction with cancer awareness. Brazil schools mark this day with tree planting and environmental education. The British Virgin Islands pair planting with poetry.

The Cambodian king is the honored guest at the tree planting. In Canada, Arbour Day (don’t you just love the “u”?) was centered on encouraging students to keep their school grounds neat and clean. In Calgary, first graders are given a tree seedling to plant in their home landscape.

I could go on and on – all the way to Venezuela! It seems as though great minds came independently to the same conclusion- we need trees so let’s plant and care for them!

In the U. S., Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska with the planting of one million trees in that state. By the 1920’s every state had chosen a date for their Arbor Day. His son, Joy Morton, created the Morton Arboretum in nearby Lisle. What a beautiful place to visit all year long!

Arbor Day in Illinois is Fri., April 26, 2024. There are many ways to “celebrate.” Planting a tree is just one. At least, take a minute to appreciate the trees in your neighborhood. They purify our air, cool our streets and homes in the summer, and nothing is more relaxing than sitting under a tree.

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Marilyn Krueger
Marilyn Kruegerhttp://www.napervillegardenclub.org
Marilyn Krueger is an avid local gardener and member of the Naperville Garden Club.


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