By Naomi Hatch
For many years, the Town of Snowflake has celebrated Arbor Day by planting trees.
On April 25, Arborist Bruce Mighton and Councilman Kerry Ballard were in Phoenix to receive the Town of Snowflake’s 15th annual Tree City USA award.
The following day, Mighton hosted an Ask an Arborist question and answer session just before residents, town staff members and council members planted trees at the Snowflake Academy Building.
Arbor Day was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, who moved to the Nebraska Territory in 1872. He was a journalist, and wrote articles on agriculture and planting trees for a large Nebraska newspaper.
Morton proposed a tree planting holiday, and on April 10, 1872, Nebraska held its first Arbor Day celebration, a name given the day by Morton.
They planted trees, giving prizes to those individuals and counties that planted the most trees correctly, and it was estimated that more than a million trees were planted on that first Arbor Day.
In 1885, students in each grade planted a tree that they continued to care for and then the students from one school marched to the next school, where they picked up more students and eventually there were over 1,000 students and citizens in the parade to the local opera house, where Morton spoke.
Other states began celebrating Arbor Day in the 1870s and in 1882, it was celebrated nationwide.
In 1906, Major Israel McCreight, who lived in DeBois, Pa., felt that President Theodore Roosevelt’s speeches on conservation were limited to the lumber industry and suggested there should be a campaign for the youth that included a national policy.
The chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, agreed and recommended that President Roosevelt make a public statement to children in the schools about trees and the destruction of the forests in America.
On April 15, 1907, Roosevelt issued an Arbor Day Proclamation to the school children of the United States.
Arbor Day was originally celebrated on April 22, Morton’s birthday, but is now celebrated on the last Friday in April.
By Naomi Hatch