It’s no secret that the team at Tree Care by Robert Miller love shade trees and everything in between. We like to take a moment to pause and find fun ways celebrate Arbor Day. National Arbor Day is April 24th and we wanted to take a moment to help you find a way to celebrate with your family.
Arbor Day offers the time to focus on the importance of nature in general, and trees specifically, in our often hectic lives. So let’s celebrate Arbor Day!
We’ve asked our friends and customers to help come up with 10 fun things to do to celebrate Arbor Day. Before we get to those, let’s take a moment to look at the history of Arbor Day.
Arbor Day History – Why We Celebrate the Trees
On April 10, 1872, Nebraska celebrated the first Arbor Day. National Arbor Day is now celebrated on the last Friday of April. Julius Sterling Morton suggested to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that they set aside a day and offer a prize for the person who planted the most trees.
Who was Julius Sterling Morton?
Julius Sterling Morton was the editor of a Nebraska newspaper for many years. He served as the Secretary of Agriculture for President Cleveland. You might know the Morton surname because of Julius’s son, who founded the Morton Salt company.
Morton believed planting trees could help the environment. He also believed the beauty of the trees was reason enough to encourage citizens to participate. On the first Arbor Day, Nebraskans planted over a million trees. By 1907, every state in the United States was celebrating Arbor Day.
Why does every state celebrate Arbor Day on a different day?
Many states have a state Arbor Day, which differs from the National Arbor Day. The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization and keeps a list of all of the different days. They offer educational programs and information about the importance of trees. Arbor Day is celebrated in schools and communities throughout the United States and the world.
In our home state of Florida, Arbor Day is has been celebrated since 1886 and takes place on the third Friday in January each year.
Although Florida’s state celebration has passed for this year, we think taking time out the week of April 24th to Celebrate Arbor Day is an important Spring tradition. Earth Day is just two days prior, so it’s the perfect week for natural fun. Pick one or two of these ten ways and make it a weekend of natural fun your whole family will enjoy!
10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day with Your Family
Get out into nature and explore!
Time outdoors helps your family to reconnect with each other. According to the Child Mind Institute, spending time in nature builds confidence, promotes creative thinking, and teaches responsibility.
Here are ten ways to celebrate Arbor Day and reconnect with nature:
The classic way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree.
Or plant a lot of trees! Many municipalities and counties give away free trees on Arbor Day. Check for these events and get involved. Locally, you can find inexpensive small trees that are perfect for our area at the Nature Coast Botanical Garden.
Go for a nature hike.
Get out and explore the natural wonders of your area. State and national parks are great places to start but look for Wildlife Management Areas, local parks, and other wilderness areas. A few of our favorites in the Brooksville Area are:
- Chinsegut Conservation Center – The charming and easy-to-navigate trails at and around the center connect with both the Manor House and Highway 41, making it easy to reach for a few hours of hiking followed by a family lunch at Florida Cracker Kitchen.
- Weeki Wachee Preserve – This preserve, a former mining spot, features crystal clear waters, plenty of tall pines, and both paved and sandy trails for hikers of all skill levels. You can also ride your bike into this little piece of heaven tucked away right off U.S. Highway 19 on the way to Hernando Beach.
- Fort Cooper State Park – Both shaded and lakefront hikes make this a beautiful spot for hiking, camping, or boating in Citrus County.
Organize a tree identification scavenger hunt or a scavenger hunt for the oldest or largest trees in the area.
Teach younger children to identify trees with a fun scavenger hunt. The Seasoned Mom has a great how-to guide to help put it together.
Organize a beautification project in a local public park with other families in your neighborhood.
Arbor Day is a great time to encourage children and young people to participate in community projects.
Organize an invasive species hunt and removal.
Invasive species are a problem throughout Florida, and removing them can help promote healthy habitats for native species.
Pick a book on nature and organize a book club
Or organize a poetry reading or community art project that focuses on trees.
Have a family picnic underneath your favorite tree.
There are beautiful spots at McKethan Lake Recreation area that we are big fans of. There’s nothing better on a warm spring day in Florida, then a picnic under a shade tree.
Attend a meeting of our local Sierra Club/Native Plants Society/etc.
Brooksville, Spring Hill, and Crystal River all have their own chapters. Choose the one closest to you and plan a visit. Almost all of them have informative classes each month.
Start a Pine Cone or Acorn Collection.
Young kids love to collect pine cones and acorns. Luckily, both are plentiful in the Brooksville Area. Take an extra bag on your nature walk and collect a few, then try your hand at a fun craft. We’re especially fond of pine cone bird feeders and fairy houses.
Get vertical with a visit to Treeumph.
Keep older kids entertained and sneak in some nature with a visit to TreeUmph. This outdoor adventure includes ziplining, obstacles, and something for kids from 5 to 55.
Celebrating Arbor Day is a great way to reconnect with the wonders of the natural world. For more ideas, check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s suggestions for celebrating or come up with your own. No matter what you do, enjoy the fresh air that our beautiful trees provide and encourage others to join you.
Need more reasons to celebrate Arbor Day or just some trivia knowledge to drop at Rookie’s Trivia Night?
10 Benefits of Trees
The benefits of having healthy trees in our yards and communities are many. As Morton knew, trees are beautiful, and studies have shown that spending time in nature improves mental health. Here are 10 benefits of having trees and natural areas:
- Trees help keep waterways clean by making sure there is enough vegetation to absorb rain. When there isn’t enough vegetation, storm runoff becomes a problem. Pollutants are caught up in the water and make their way into waterways. Tree roots and other vegetation also offer natural purification for bodies of water.
- Mature trees help prevent climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon, and releasing oxygen.
- Trees reduce air pollution. Planting urban forests can help reduce pollutants from cities, which leads to better air quality and healthier citizens. Roadside trees can help prevent indoor air pollution from nearby buildings and neighborhoods.
- Trees planted around homes can also reduce noise pollution.
- Planting trees properly around your home and in your communities can help conserve energy. If you plant trees to offer shade over walkways, patios, and air conditioners, you can help keep things cooler and running more efficiently. Plenty of trees can also help keep cities cooler. Cities often have higher temperatures, which creates urban heat islands. Trees help negate this effect.
- Trees can offer windbreaks as well. This also helps reduce energy costs, and it can also help keep your home safer from tropical storms and hurricanes.
- Trees attract wildlife. Trees are an important part of the ecosystem. Maintaining healthy trees can attract more birds and wildlife to your yard. Be a part of restoring threatened environments by planting native trees and other plants.
- Trees can help prevent soil erosion, which can lead to better crops and better water management.
- Trees can help reduce stress and improve productivity. Office workers in buildings with visible trees and green space report more job satisfaction and less stress.
- Trees increase property values. This increase can come from having a well-landscaped yard or from having a home on a street with mature trees.
Planting and caring for trees is a sound investment.
It is an investment in physical and mental health, fiscal planning, and environmental consciousness. Use Arbor Day as an entry point to explore the many ways that trees can improve your home and community.