Arbor Day a Celebration of Trees

Joanna Stancil
State and Private Forestry,and Robert Westover, Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service
April 26th, 2013 at 5:45PM

A forest visitor admires an old growth forest on the Mt. Hood National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service photo) The U.S. Forest Service wants you to remember the last time you lay on the grass and looked up and were inspired by tree branches swaying in the breeze—or when you sat under an old oak tree feeling the rough bark of its trunk against your back. If you can’t remember, or you’ve never done these things you should because according to the Arbor Day Foundation, America has the “grandest trees on earth – the largest, the oldest and some of the most magnificent.”

Today, April 26, is National Arbor Day. Take a moment to celebrate trees and all they provide for us.

There are so many things most of us don’t know about trees and Arbor Day is a great time to learn a thing or two. For instance, did you know the mighty oak tree is America’s national tree?

In fact, each state celebrates their own Arbor Day and has designated a tree to represent them. Our nation’s capital honors the scarlet oak.  Alaska’s Sitka spruce,  Maine’s eastern white pine, Florida’scabbage palmetto, Washington state’s  western hemlock and California’s mighty sequoias all paint the landscapes of our lives.

Our urban forests, the trees that line our streets and shade our parks and yards, not only add beauty but their shade can help reduce our utility bills. Trees soften the harsh angles of a city’s brick and mortar skyline and add a touch of color; for a moment we can envision what it must have looked like before there was a city.

But, you may still be asking yourself:  What else do trees do for me? They also absorb as much as 13 percent of carbon emissions thus cleaning the air that we breathe and reducing the effects of climate change. In short, they make our planet a safer place to live. Forests also help filter nearly half of all the drinking water we need to sustain our lives and they provide the lumber we need to build our homes, make furniture and, in some cases, provide sources of bio-energy to whole communities.

So, since trees and our forests do so much for us, why not use Arbor Day as the perfect opportunity to give back by planting trees—lots of them—so that future generations will look back with gratitude for all that we did to help protect and restore our forested lands.