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Club Chronicles: Alabama’s Arbor Week approaches, Feb. 21-27

People have been planting trees for a long time. Throughout our world’s history, ordinary citizens have planted trees to restore forests, line avenues, shade homesteads, renew the human spirit or memorialize the past.

The idea of setting aside a day each year to encourage tree planting was conceived, and the name “Arbor Day” first proposed by J. Sterling Morton, was adopted.

More than 1 million trees were planted that first year, and the idea quickly spread to other states and even several countries.

National Arbor Day is on the last Friday of April; however, each state’s Arbor Day celebrations are held at different times – some as early as January and February in southern states and as late as May in northern locations.

In 1887 Alabama Gov. Thomas Seay signed the state’s first Arbor Day Proclamation. This tradition of a governor’s proclamation continued through 1975, when the Birmingham Beautification Board, the Garden Clubs of Alabama, the Alabama Forestry Commission and the State Board of Education collaborated with the state legislature to pass a legislative act designating the last full week in February as Alabama’s Arbor Week.

Every citizen can make the world a better place by planting a tree.

Tree planting brings attention to the importance of trees to our environment. Trees are so important to the environment that life could not exist without them.

Trees provide us with food, building materials, paper, protection, medicine and hundreds of other products we depend on for everyday living.

Trees provide other important functions, too, such as releasing oxygen and water  into the atmosphere, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, controlling soil erosion and helping to prevent flooding, absorbing sound and decreasing noise pollution, providing natural beauty and creating natural habitats for wildlife by providing them with food, water, shelter and places to raise their young.

Ways you can celebrate Arbor Week include:

  • Get involved: Volunteer to support local community leaders in celebration of Arbor Week.
  • Learn about trees: Go to the library, attend workshops and get information from government sources to better understand how to make your community a better place for people and trees.
  • Teach others: Inspire your friends, family and children to appreciate and respect your community forest.

As an affiliate of the Garden Clubs of Alabama, Cultura Garden Club challenges you to get involved.