My Dad is my hero. Beyond putting my needs before his each day, he is a figure of success, has proudly served our country, and taught me early on that, although it is important to memorialize our nation’s past, we must also work to celebrate its future.
This year’s Arbor Day is on April 26, and it is an opportunity for Americans to make their community and country (and Planet!) a better place by beautifying neighborhoods, providing homes for local wildlife, and making our surroundings just a little more stunning.
Does planting one tree really make a difference? Ten years ago, I certainly didn’t think so. When my Dad brought home 30 pine seedlings barely a foot long from a local Arbor Day event, my Mom and I simply rolled our eyes. That weekend, my Dad went to the local nursery, purchased mulch and composted manure, and dug holes around our acreage for each baby tree. Throughout the year, my Dad went from tree to tree, watering each with ten-gallon buckets and giving every tree the special care it required. Those pine seedlings survived the famous Gulf Coast snow of 2008, numerous hail and rain storms, and even Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike. Today, a majority of the trees are still living, and are now more than 20 feet tall—they are even producing their own baby seedlings.
Although Arbor Day has been celebrated for nearly 150 years, it continues to be just as important to our country today as it was when first celebrated in 1872. As the damage of deforestation continues to grow, trees can no longer be taken for granted in our communities.
Planting his pine seedlings continues to be a source of pride for my father. What can you and your family do to celebrate this year’s Arbor Day? Check out these four tips below:
Get people into action. Ask a civic or service group to promote a paper drive to gather paper to be recycled and save a tree. Use the proceeds to buy a special tree to plant in a park or other special public place.
Conduct a tree search. Ask people to find large, unusual, or historic trees in your community. Once the results are in, publish a map that highlights the winners, or hold a walk showcasing them.
Tell people to take a tree identification hike and have girl scouts or boy scouts act as guides.
Encourage neighborhood organizations to hold block parties and get their members to adopt and care for street trees in front of their homes. Pass out buttons. Give away trees or seedlings.
Have any special plans for Arbor Day 2013? Share them with us by commenting below or by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. DING! You are now free to be Green!