Nobody gets the day off for Arbor Day. We don’t exchange gifts. Most people couldn’t even tell you what month it occurs in each year.
No, Arbor Day often doesn’t get a lot of respect. And we need to change that, because it’s one of the most important holidays we have. Even if we don’t get a long weekend out of it.
It’s all about the trees
Why is it so important? Arbor Day is a day to celebrate, honor, and plant trees, which play a crucial role in our ecosystem. They provide food and shelter for birds and wildlife. They offer shade from the sun, as well as protection from the rain in a pinch. They look beautiful. And perhaps best of all, at least from the planet’s perspective, they absorb and store carbon dioxide emissions—you know, a major cause of climate change.
- Sterling Morton knew all of those benefits when he founded Arbor Day in Nebraska City, Nebraska, in 1872. (OK, he probably didn’t know about climate change.) And we’d all be better off if more people paid attention to why trees truly matter.
Arbor Day is celebrated at different times in different states; here in Washington, it’s the second Wednesday in April, which means in 2020 the holiday is today, April 8!
What you can do
The best way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree, or tend to one! You don’t even have to have a yard—you can plant a tree in a pot or container on your balcony or deck.
You also could donate to the Arbor Day Foundation or another nature-focused charity.
And if nothing else, you can always go to your nearest park, walk up to a tree (maybe a Western Hemlock, our official state tree), and give it a hug. Or maybe just stand under a Cedar, like me!
If anyone looks at you funny, just tell them you’re celebrating Arbor Day. And then tell them why they should celebrate, too.