There’s no doubt that trees have a huge impact on our lives. In addition to the many wood-based products that surround us—from our homes, to the furnishings, down to the No. 2 pencil on your desk—trees contribute to our properties, our neighborhoods, and even the very air we breathe!
145 years ago, Nebraska pioneer settler J. Sterling Morton proposed “Arbor Day” as a tree-planting holiday. His goal wasn’t just to remind people that trees are lovely and nice to have around. Rather, having lived almost 20 years on the prairie, he knew filling the land with trees would provide needed resources and protection from weather, and would make an even more pleasant place to live. His fellow residents embraced the idea, and planted more than 1 million trees that first Arbor Day.
Now, generations later, Arbor Day is celebrated throughout the country as we’ve come to understand just how important it is to sustain this resource. The last Friday in April (the 28th this year) is set aside nationally for the holiday, based on optimal planting weather. In much of the south, including Florida, we celebrate on the third Friday in January. While the state holiday has passed, National Arbor Day is still a wonderful time to reflect and even take action.
Trees are our business, so caring for them, keeping them healthy, and using their resources responsibly is what we focus on every day. But your business or organization can also show Arbor Day pride. You don’t have to be tree surgeons to recognize that your business relies on trees, here are some meaningful ideas for celebrating Arbor Day at your workplace, or even at home with family and friends.
Plant a Tree… or Several
The original intent of Arbor Day was specifically to plant trees, so this is the best way to honor it. Whether on your property or a neighborhood green space, you’ll be doing something beneficial for the surrounding area. You can also use the trees to honor employees (or customers), and if you aren’t able to plant on your property, give the trees to employees for their own property. (Since the state-level Arbor Day celebrations are scheduled for good tree-planting conditions, plan this event for January, when Florida recognizes Arbor Day.)
Donate to a Worthy Tree Organization
Your company can support 501(c)(3) non-profit tree organizations (such as the National Arbor Day Foundation) with a financial gift and/or gather donations from employees or customers.
Organize a Tree-Focused Walk or Scavenger Hunt
Help increase appreciation for local flora with a fun and educational tree walk. Learn together about the local tree varieties and their environment. Up the ante with some friendly competition in the form of a scavenger hunt, as participants have to find certain tree varieties. A great all-age opportunity for building community among staff, customers, and their families.
Host a Recycling Event
Encourage sustainable living by providing a place to drop off recyclables, learn about the different types of recyclable products and how to properly sort and dispose of them, get upcycling tips for giving old items a new use, and more. Use your imagination!
And of course… reduce waste by communicating digitally! Make the most of social media, your website, email, and other online platforms to get the word out about your event, without putting it in print.
Enjoy the trees that surround the places you live, work, and play, and that have had such an important impact on your life. And this Arbor Day, take an extra moment to appreciate all that the trees provide for us!