Arizona Arbor Day Celebration
Phoenix, Arizona, 23 April 2014 – The Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt and Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFD) will celebrate the 142nd National Arbor Day on Friday, April 25, 2014. They will host a statewide Arbor Day event in collaboration with the Arizona Community Tree Council, Arizona Nursery Association, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension – Maricopa Master Gardeners, USDA Forest Service, and the Buckeye School District.
The celebration is scheduled to occur at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Park lawn from 9:30AM – 12:30PM and will include a variety of tree activities and educational opportunities. The tree activities will be followed by the reading of the Governor's Arizona Arbor Day Proclamation, the annual Tree City USA award ceremony, and the planting of two trees. Awards and prizes will also be given to the Arbor Day Poster Contest winners and the designated 2013 Magnificent 7 Trees.
Also, in honor of Arbor Day and Arbor Week, fifteen native trees will be on display for Arbor Week on the Capitol Grounds between the State House of Representatives and State Senate buildings. Trees include: desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), red push pistachio (Pistachia x 'Red Push'), thornless honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida), Texas red oak (Quercus texana), willow acacia (Acacia salicina), thornless mesquite (Prosopis hybrid), desert museum palo verde (Cercidium hybrid), velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina), chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), Texas ebony (Pithecellobium flexicaule), sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo), ghost gum (Eucalyptus papuana), Chinkapin oak (Quercus muhlenbergii), and ironwood (Olneya tesota). Trees were provided by Mountain States Nursery for the display.
History of Arbor Day
Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1872. As the Nebraska Territory was being populated in the mid to late 1800's, a need for trees was quickly realized. Trees aided in soil stabilization, provided shade from the sun, and supplied fuel and building materials. Encouraging the planting of trees came strongly from the "founding father" of Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton.
Since 1872, Arbor Day is now celebrated in all 50 states and in 32 countries around the world. The most common date for Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, although some states celebrate on different dates that coincide with the best time to plant trees based on the local climate.
Arizona Arbor Day
As early as 1898, Arizona celebrated Arbor Day through specialized events held at each of the public schools and institutions of learning. In the 1980s, the Arizona State Legislature declared the "last Friday in April" to be the official Arizona Arbor Day throughout the state, recommending that the day be observed through tree planting to promote urban forest health and growth.
Arizona State Forestry Division – Urban & Community Forestry Program also takes this opportunity to recognize communities across Arizona and their commitment to proactive tree stewardship.
Why is Arbor Day Important?
As J. Sterling Morton and many others have realized, the importance of trees is immeasurable as they provide a multitude of social, environmental, and economic benefits. Socially, trees can lift our spirits and create serene environments for stress release and aesthetic viewing pleasure. Environmentally, they help cool our communities by providing shade from the sun, improve air quality by sequestering carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, and reduce storm water runoff by intercepting rainfall. Economically, a tree shading a building will cut costs associated with air conditioning, a landscaped building is more valuable than one that is non-landscaped, and trees aid in increasing home/property values.