Arbor Day Foundation

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Arbor Day Foundation
Location Nebraska
Year Founded 1972
Current CEO Matt Harris
Number of Members Approximately 1,000,000
Trees Distributed to Members Approximately 7,000,000 per year
Trees Planted in America's Forests Approximately 5,000,000 per year
Number of Tree City USA's 3,409
Number of Tree Campuses 237
Number of Certified Nature Explore Classrooms 217

The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation and education organization founded in Nebraska in 1972 by John Rosenow. It is the largest membership organization dedicated to tree planting. The Foundation's stated corporate mission is "to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees."[1] The Foundation programs are supported by members, donors, and corporate sponsors that share the same vision of a healthier and greener world.[2]

History of Arbor Day[edit]

In 1872, J. Sterling Morton started what would become Arbor Day in Nebraska City, NE. This "holiday" is meant to recognize and support the planting of trees. He and his wife Caroline challenged people around the country to plant trees. In 1872,on the first Arbor Day, approximately one million trees were planted in Nebraska alone. J. Sterling Morton and his wife Caroline lived in Nebraska City, NE on their 72- acre estate, which is now known as Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum.[3]

Lied Lodge & Conference Center and Arbor Day Farm[edit]

Nebraska City, NE, the Home of Arbor Day, is where the Arbor Day Foundation built the Lied Lodge and Conference Center, which houses a full service meeting center and 140 guest rooms"[4] for conservation-minded organizations, members, forestry professionals, or other individuals that value the environmental operating practices offered by the facility.[5] The property is also home to Arbor Day Farm, a National Historic Landmark and an educational visitor attraction; Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, including the Lied Greenhouse, Woodland Pavilion, the Tree House Trail, Canopy Tree House, Nature Explore Classrooms, Exploratory Trail, Nature Explore Club Cabin, and the Tree Adventure Discovery Ride.[6] In 2014, the Arbor Day Foundation took over management of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.[7]

Programs of the Arbor Day Foundation[edit]

Tree City USA[edit]

The Tree City USA program, which is co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, has grown to include more than 3,400 towns, cities, and military bases in all 50 states.[8] This program nationally recognizes cities and towns for urban and community forestry and helps provide assistance and public attention to showcase the importance of urban forestry.[9]

The foundation encourages communities across the nation to become Tree City USA by meeting four standards:.[10]

  • The community must have a tree board or department.
  • The community must have established a community ordinance for tree care.
  • There must be a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita.
  • The community must have an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

There are many benefits to becoming a Tree City USA:[11]

  • Framework for Action—when a city meets the four standards to become a Tree City USA,they are paving the way for providing an urban/community forestry program for their city. This allows the community to begin managing its tree resources annually.
  • Education—becoming a Tree City USA opens the door to experts who can provide technical advice, literature, and other assistance from state forestry staff and other experts.
  • Public Image—people love to live in beautiful communities, and becoming a Tree City USA enhances an image of desirability among individuals and businesses and indicates a higher quality of life. Visitors can tell your community cares about the environment by the Tree City USA signs that are placed along public highways.
  • Citizen Pride—becoming a Tree City USA and retaining this honor instills a sense of pride in the community. There are many types of people that make this designation happen; tree workers, managers, volunteers, tree board members, and residents. They work on taking better care of a community’s trees and their own.
  • Financial Assistance—when grant money is available for community trees or forestry programs, those with a Tree City USA designation may be considered over communities without one. Since grant money is limited by state and federal agencies, officials have confidence in the communities that have put forth the effort to become a Tree City USA.
  • Publicity—there are many different publicity opportunities when you become a Tree City USA. The presentation of this award and the celebration of Arbor Day instills great satisfaction in the individuals involved as well as the community. This allows for a greater reach when teaching others about tree care.

Trees for America[12][13][edit]

The million members of the Arbor Day Foundation share the same vision to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. The trees planted by the members at their homes, businesses, and ranches provide cleaner air and water, shade, increased stormwater management, energy savings, soil protection, and habitat for wildlife.

Members are invited to receive 10 Free Trees through the Trees for America program. Between six and seven million trees are sent to members each year that help improve their communities and environment.

Another aspect of the Trees for America program is the Community Tree Recovery program, which brings hope and healing to communities in need by providing trees to replant after natural disasters.

Replanting Our National Forests[14][edit]

Through partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Foundation corporate sponsors and members have planted more than 45 million trees in America’s National Forests. Devastation to the forests caused by insects, disease, and wildfires help restore vitality and life to the forest land. Forests provide more than beauty to the nation, they provide drinking water to 180 million people, stop erosion around streams and lakes, and assist rain and snowmelt to soak into the soil. Trees also help mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and replacing it with oxygen. The replanted forests provide a home to wolves, bald eagles, grizzly bears, and other endangered species.

An example of a forest replanting is the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the largest national forest in California with two million acres. The summer of 2008 marked the worst fire season in the history of the forest and burned thousands of acres. Through the Replanting Our National Forest program, the Arbor Day Foundation with their partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, has planted more than one million trees to bring life back to the forest and ensure that it continues to thrive.

Nature Explore[15][16][edit]

Daily interactions with the natural world is a big benefit for children. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Nature Explore program allows children to make deeper connections with the natural world.

Through a collaboration with Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, the Arbor Day Foundation is taking on the challenge of teaching the importance of nature to children and exposing them to the outdoors through their Nature Explore Classrooms. These research-based opportunities for learning are taught to school administrators, landscape architects, and families and give educators an opportunity to build and certify a Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom using safe, durable, natural components. Outdoor classrooms allow children to learn and play outside while they experience the wonder of nature. There are art stations with pine cones and acorns, allowing children to create their own masterpieces. Logs allow a natural climb and crawl experience. Above-ground gardens allow the children to plant flowers and vegetables and watch them grow. In this nature-based environment, children are allowed to play together, pretending, creating, and learning to care for the space that was built just for them. These nature-rich environments help kids connect to nature, inspiring the next generation of tree planters.

Tree Campus USA[17][18][edit]

237 colleges and universities are recognized as Tree Campus USA’s. Tree Campus USA recognition is obtained by having a program in place that manages the campus tree inventory along with tree care and maintenance. Managed trees provide beauty to the campus along with a place for students to study, relax, and socialize. Students that have an opportunity to connect with trees and the environment when they are young will carry this on through their lifetime.

Rain Forest Rescue[19][20][edit]

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Rain Forest Rescue program saves thousands of acres of tropical rain forest each year with contributions from our generous members and sponsors. This tropical land is crucial to our survival and is home to many of the rarest animals on earth and plants that hold medicinal value and cures. Working with eight different countries and 59 different projects, preservation, tree-planting, and recovery is under way with on-location partners.

Shade-grown Arbor Day Specialty Coffee is another part of the Rain Forest Rescue program. The rain forests are not only home to many animals, they are home to millions of people. Through the Arbor Day Specialty Coffee program, the Foundation helps these people and farmers save and preserve the rain forest using sustainable agroforestry that includes production of coffee beans. Farmers grow coffee plants in the rain forest under the trees, offering a superior coffee bean and saving the rain forest from unwanted destruction. The Foundation offers education and economic incentives for rain forest restoration and preservation.

Conservation Trees[21][edit]

Land conservation practices help conserve soil, water, wildlife, and the atmosphere. Through the Conservation Trees program, the Foundation works with ranchers, farmers, and landowners through communication and education encouraging environmental stewardship.

Trees planted for conservation are “working trees.” They provide many benefits in communities and rural areas. Other than reducing soil erosion, cleaning waterways and air, trees cut energy costs and sequester carbon dioxide. They provide beauty to our land all the while providing food for wildlife and people.

Energy-Saving Trees[22][edit]

Strategically planting trees in a homeowner’s yard lowers utility bills, conserves energy, and lowers peak electricity demand. The Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program works with utility partners to plant trees in residential areas. An on-line tools allows the homeowner to choose a tree for their yard, plot the tree in their yard using satellite imagery to calculate the energy savings over time. This unique program allows Foundation partners and members to save energy through tree planting.

State Arbor Day Dates[23][edit]

  • Alabama – Last full week in February
  • Alaska – Third Monday in May
  • Arizona – Third Friday in March
  • Arkansas – Third Monday in March
  • California – March 7–14
  • Colorado – Third Friday in April
  • Connecticut – Last Friday in April
  • Delaware – Last Friday in April
  • District of Columbia – Last Friday in April
  • Florida – Third Friday in January
  • Georgia – Third Friday in February
  • Georgia – Third Friday in February
  • Hawaii – First Friday in November
  • Idaho – Last Friday in April
  • Illinois – Last Friday in April
  • Indiana – Last Friday in April
  • Iowa – Last Friday in April
  • Kansas – Last Friday in April
  • Kentucky – First Friday in April
  • Louisiana – Third Friday in January
  • Maine – Third full week in May
  • Maryland – First Wednesday in April
  • Massachusetts – Last Friday in April
  • Michigan – Last Friday in April
  • Minnesota – Last Friday in April
  • Mississippi – Second Friday in February
  • Missouri – First Friday in April
  • Montana – Last Friday in April
  • Nebraska – Last Friday in April
  • Nevada – Last Friday in April
  • New Hampshire – Last Friday in April
  • New Jersey – Last Friday in April
  • New Mexico – Second Friday in March
  • New York – Last Friday in April
  • North Carolina – First Friday following March 15
  • North Dakota – First Friday in May
  • Ohio – Last Friday in April
  • Oklahoma – Last full week in March
  • Oregon – First full week in April
  • Pennsylvania – Last Friday in April
  • Rhode Island – Last Friday in April
  • South Carolina – First Friday in December
  • South Dakota – Last Friday in April
  • Tennessee – First Friday in March
  • Texas – First Friday in November
  • Utah – Last Friday in April
  • Vermont – First Friday in May
  • Virginia – Last Friday in April
  • Washington – Second Wednesday in April
  • West Virginia – Second Friday in April
  • Wisconsin – Last Friday in April
  • Wyoming – Last Monday in April

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] "Arbor Day Foundation", Retrieved 2015-10-21
  2. ^ [2] "Arbor Day Foundation", Retrieved 2015-10-21
  3. ^ [3] "Arbor Day Farm", Retrieved 2015-10-21
  4. ^ [4] "Lied Lodge and Conference Center", Retrieved 2015-10-21
  5. ^ [5] "Lied Lodge and Conference Center", Retrieved 2015-10-21
  6. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). Lied Lodge and Conference Center, Arbor Day Farm. 
  7. ^ Marek, Anthony (2014). "Arbor Day Foundation and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Reach Cooperative Agreement to Manage Arbor Lodge State Historical Park" (Press release). Nebraska City, NE: Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  8. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  9. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). Arbor Day Special Edition Newsletter. 
  10. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2009). Tree City Bulletin #22 Tree City USA: Foundation for Better Tree Management. 
  11. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2009). Tree City Bulletin #22 Tree City USA: Foundation for Better Tree Management. 
  12. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  13. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2015). Plant Trees for America. 
  14. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  15. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  16. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). Arbor Day Special Edition Newsletter. 
  17. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  18. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). Arbor Day Special Edition Newsletter. 
  19. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  20. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2015). Shade Grown Arbor Day Specialty Coffee. 
  21. ^ Arbor Day Foundation. 2014 Conservation Trees. 
  22. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2014). 2014 Annual Report of the Arbor Day Foundation. 
  23. ^ Arbor Day Foundation (2015). Plant Trees for America. 

External links[edit]