The New Student's Reference Work/Arbor Day
Arbor Day, a day set apart for the planting of trees, generally observed throughout the United States. It has been established also in Great Britain, France, northern and southern Africa and in Japan. Observance of the day may be said to have started April 10, 1872, the state of Nebraska having the honor of the first Arbor Day, and to the Hon. J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska, belongs the credit of suggesting and establishing a tree-planting day. Kansas began tree planting in 1875, Minnesota in 1876, and gradually the other states followed suit.
Now an important feature of Arbor Day is its connection with the public schools. This connection probably began in 1882, when the school children of Cincinnati, Ohio, planted trees in a public park in memory of authors and statesmen. Soon after this, in most of the schools of West Virginia a special day was appointed for tree-planting. While the festival may be considered a national one, it is observed by the several states and territories at widely different times; in the south it may be observed in December, in the north in May. Some states have a fixed date, in others it is appointed by the governor. In addition to the planting of the trees, appropriate exercises mark the day. The various states issue Arbor Day circulars giving suggestions for the celebration. The value of the interest of the school children in Arbor Day is recognized by the United States Forest Service, which sends out circulars treating of its history and observance. It is desired that every child shall learn of the use and value of the tree in the life of the nation.