Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Arbor Day Extravaganza!

I’ve just returned from our annual employee tree planting held in The Morton Arboretum’s elm collection and I was reminded of this remarkable holiday founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872. Celebrating the 136th anniversary of this arboreal event, this is the time of year that we celebrate (and plant) trees! Even at the Arboretum where trees are always very much front and center, we all gather together as an employee community -- and plant a tree. This action speaks to our basic beliefs and philosophical underpinnings. As J. Sterling Morton remarked, “Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.” Each Arbor Day, encourages us to reflect on our heritage. To my mind, like a relay runner, we pass on our "Plant Trees" baton into the future. We’re trying to “pay it forward” with a dendrological twist. Today we planted Ulmus harbinensis, but consider who will visit this same tree in the future for study, shade, research and enjoyment!

As you can surmise, the Sterling Morton Library has a number of historical and modern resources on Arbor Day. Before or after you join in the Arboretum cacophony of activities marking Arbor Day, stop by the Library to delve into these resources:
The Arbor Day lady by Mary L. Hellings - SD363.H4

Arbor Day manual : an aid to preparing programs for Arbor Day exercises - SD363.S62
J. Sterling Morton by James Olson – a biography of the founder of Arbor Day and the father of the Arboretum’s founder, Joy Morton - CT9610.M6 O4 1972

In our children’s collection:
Arbor Day by Diane Burns – J SD363 .B87
J. Sterling Morton : Arbor Day boy by Clyde Moore - J CT9610.M6 M6

In the Suzette Morton Davidson Special Collections:
Arbor day : its history, observation, spirit and significance with practical selections on tree-planting and conservation, and a nature anthology, 1909.
Arbor day: its history and observance, 1896.
Arbor day, 1888.

From selected journals:
Arbor Day in Flower & Garden, April 1990, v. 34, no. 2, p. 8.
Arbor Day : a Morton tradition by Richard Hootman in The Morton Arboretum Quarterly, v. 30, no. 1, p. 1-5.
The Man who started Arbor Day by Hal Borland in The Morton Arboretum Quarterly, v. 8, no. 1, p. 6-8.
Arbor Day : the first 100 years by H. J. Banker in American Forests, v. 78, no. 4, p. 8-11, 60-61.

Other resources:
Today in History: The First Arbor Day from the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress
The history of Arbor Day and a quick list of each state's Arbor Day celebration date and state tree. Arbor Day dates vary from state to state, depending on climate. Most are in March or April, but a few are in other months.

Happy Arbor Day!

1 comment:

Robert smith said...

Thank you for sharing all the wonderful Arbor Day resources found in the Sterling Morton Library collection. I work for the Arbor Day Foundation in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I'm always watching for new information about the history and lore of the tree planter's holiday. I hope everyone at the Morton Arboretum enjoyed the celebration and the trees planted back in April are thriving.