“Each generation takes the earth as trustees.”
What a wonderfully profound sentiment regarding stewardship of nature and natural resources from Julius Sterling Morton. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state of Nebraska and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture. His most important legacy is Arbor Day. Morton proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees. Nebraska’s first Arbor Day was an amazing success back in 1872; more than one million trees were planted. Morton’s simple idea of establishing a special day for planting trees is now more important than ever.
We need trees to keep us alive and to look at forests as ecosystems that are not only important but also provide essential functions to sustain the quality of human life. Trees play an essential role in environmental sustainability, they help fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air, they lower energy costs by providing shade and when planted along streams and wetlands, they prevent erosion and clean our water. Trees provide home to surrounding habitats and are essential in maintaining the quality of life on earth.
All of us must cultivate a daily mindfulness regarding our impact on the environment. The more we connect with trees, the earth, the rivers and lakes, the deeper appreciation we will have towards protecting and preserving our natural environment. The celebration of Arbor Day gives us an opportunity to learn about trees and take positive action to make the world a better place. Not only is it a day to admire the abundant tree canopy we have been gifted, it is also an occasion to plant and care for our own leafy legacy. This Arbor Day, let’s get outside and play with nature.
Arbor Day is celebrated around the last Friday in April so this year we will celebrate on April 24, 2015. All states in the U.S. now have an official Arbor Day, usually at a time of year that is has the best weather conditions for planting trees. Check out some great ideas to celebrate with your family or community this year at http://www.arborday.org/celebrate/ways-to-celebrate.cfm.
Join the Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 trees!
Written by Lori Gregory