Arbor Day Cartoon Fun & History
Brownielocks and The 3 Bears

Arbor Day cartoon

One of our Weekly Cartoons relating to environment is Ozone Layer.

The celebration of Arbor Day varies.  But it usually takes place the last Friday in April, so that is why we put it in with the April celebrations.  In some cases, it is combined with a more popular celebration called EARTH DAY, on April 22.


Only two countries celebrate Arbor Day: The United States and Puerto Rico.  

Arbor Day is a day of planting trees. Why? How?

It all began way way back in 1855 in Nebraska.  Julius Sterling Morton is said to be the "Father of Arbor Day."  He was born on April 22, which is another reason why many combine Earth Day with Arbor Day.  Julius, settled on the Nebraska plains, which were pretty treeless and was also editor of the "Nebraska News" newspaper at the time.  He truly felt the prairie needed more trees for the following reasons:

(1) Windbreakers
(2) Hold Moisture in Soil
(3) Lumber for Homes and Buildings

So, Julius Morton began planting trees and urged others to do so also.  It is assumed he did this verbally and also through newspaper articles, since he was the editor.  He joined the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and was continually interested in new agricultural methods.  It was also at this time he proposed that a specific day be set aside for planting trees. And as an incentive, he suggested a prize be offered to the person who planted the most trees on that one particular day.

On April 10, 1872 a million trees were planted in Nebraska. I'm not sure who won the first contest, but over 350 million more trees were planted within the next 16 years.

In 1865 Nebraska was known as "The Tree Planter's State." Today, however it is known as "The Cornhusker State."

Julius Sterling Morton served as  Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1897.

Arbor Day celebrations became very popular through the US between the 1880's and WWII.  Schools and many communities annually held official Arbor Day celebrations and tree-planting ceremonies. But, the spirit is slowly dying when it comes to planting trees.  To help keep it alive, many states are combining Arbor Day with Bird Day, in which trees are planted that certain birds to an area like (to keep them or attract them).  And, shrubs are also planted in some areas in place of a real tree.

Every year the President and First Lady plant a special tree on the grounds of the White House in Washington, DC somewhere.

Most of the other Arbor Day activities remain in schools as essay contests, pageants, poems, bulletin board displays, visits to a local park or having a Forest Ranger or Park Service person come in and speak to the classes.

In some cases such groups as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and civic organizations will have tree-planting ceremonies.  But the importance of tree-planting has been overshadowed today by a more bigger concern.  And that is the entire earth's environmental problems, global warming and the destruction of the rain forest.

To help preserve our forests, many "tree farms" have started that grow trees for Christmas time.  Others now prefer artificial trees at Christmas (more for fire safety than environmental consciousness.) And, in some towns trees that are very old are declared historical landmarks just like buildings and replace an annual Arbor Day celebration.


Trees will always remain the symbol of Arbor Day regardless if it blends in with Earth Day.  Legend has it that Johnny Appleseed planted thousands of apple trees (via seeds) all over Ohio and Indiana  between 1801 to 1845. But Julius Morton will always be remembered as the man who legally established planting trees as a holiday.

Trees are also planted today for other reasons besides Arbor Day.  Local conservationists will plant a tree in a park as a symbol of keeping a cleaner environment and as a political statement against over-development of an area.  Trees are planted as memorials to outstanding Americans and/or in honor of various social causes such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, AIDS awareness, or as a symbol of hope after a natural disaster has struck.

Note: Julius Norton is not Johnny Appleseed. That was John Chapman.
The two are often confused with one another because they both planted a lot of trees.


Go back to the month of April Is..

To visit our Easter presentation 

Our song,  "What a Wonderful World"  by Louis Armstrong
Below are the lyrics:

I see trees of green, red roses too.
I see them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white,
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do.
They're really saying "I love you."

I hear babies crying. I watch them grow.
They'll learn much more than I'll never know.
And, I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.




Information Source based on the book, "Holiday Symbols, 2nd Ed." by Sue Ellen Thompson
Omnigraphics, Inc. 2000

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