Posted April 26, 2016 by Gabriel Posternak

Here's why you should celebrate Arbor Day

Next April 29th is a new edition of Arbor Day, one of the most fundamental dates to celebrate and spread environmentalism. New to this celebration? Let us tell you why you should rise the green flag and start honoring mother nature by planting new trees.

 A little history on Arbor Day

Arbor Day is a holiday in which people gather to plant new trees or care for existing ones, all with an ecological aim. The oldest Arbor Day documented was celebrated in 1594, held by the Mayor of the Spanish village of Mondoñedo. The place is remembered with a small granite marker and a plaque and still has lime-trees and chestnuts, like those planted that used to be planted back then.

In our country, the first Arbor Day of the modern era was held in Nebraska City by J. Sterling Morton on April 10, 1872. An estimated 1 million trees were planted during that first celebration.

A hundred years later, the Arbor Day Foundation was founded, and now they are in charge of centralizing the info and volunteer work for this day. National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but some states change that date to one more favorable for planting trees.

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Why celebrate trees

Planting and reforestation is one of the keys of ecology. Trees not only clean the air through photosynthesis, but they impact on the energy performance of cities and water efficiency. In a big scale, global forests removed about one-third of fossil fuel emissions annually, and in a smaller scale, roadside trees reduce nearby indoor air pollution by more than 50%.

Carefully positioned trees can reduce a household’s energy consumption by up to 25%. Energy.gov predict that only 3 trees can save an average household between $100 and $250 in energy costs annually. Also, evaporation of water from trees has a cooling effect on streets and parks.

In relation to water, forested watersheds provide quality drinking water to more than 180 million Americans. In 1997, New York City spent $1.5 billion -a quarter of the investment needed for a filtration plant- to preserve the forested watershed that supplies New York City by purchasing acres of land upstate. Today, New Yorkers enjoy some of the cleanest drinking water in the world.

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What can you do this Arbor Day

The Foundation put together numerous activities and resources for tree planting and preservation. From city forestation initiatives to tree camps and events, to worldwide projects like Rainforest Rescue and studies. Check this link, to find a perfect program for you to volunteer in your city or start a new program on your own with some neighbors.

If you prefer to keep it small within your family, you can choose a species that best adapt to your zone with this trees browser and plant in your own yard. This is also a great opportunity to visit your local National Forest park and learn more about indigenous species and ways to prevent deforestation.

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It’s been more than 130 years since the first Arbor Day in America, and the issue today is more alive than ever. So grab your gardener gloves and tools, and join the movement this April 29th to improve the environment one sapling at a time :)

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