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Arbor Day


The idea for Arbor Day originally came from Nebraska. A visit to Nebraska today wouldn't disclose that the state was once a treeless plain. Yet it was the lack of trees there that led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s.

Among pioneers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.

His fellow pioneers missed their trees. But, more importantly, trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun.

Morton not only advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, but he also encouraged civic organizations and groups to join in. His prominence in the area increased, and he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees

On January 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called “Arbor Day” at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting properly the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

Today the most common date for the state observances is the last Friday in April, and several U.S. presidents have proclaimed a national Arbor Day on that date. But a number of state Arbor Days are at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south to May in the far north.

          Arbor Day in Fosston

The City of Fosston has been celebrating Arbor Day for 27 years and has been named a Tree City USA, by the National Arbor Day Foundation, in each of the 29 years. In recent years the event has been celebrated on the National Arbor Day, or on the day set aside by the State of Minnesota. Of course living in Minnesota we have had to, at times, celebrate on a separate day completely to ensure proper planting weather.

Each year a Recertification Application from the National Arbor Day Foundation is submitted. The city submits a carried out work plan consisting of our efforts to plant more trees. The City’s mayor signs a proclamation setting Arbor Day for the city and celebration plans are made.

Fosston has celebrated the day by holding tree sales at our city shed or at local nurseries. These sales offer special prices and free planting of the trees, by a landscaping professional, for residents of Fosston. These incentives and people’s love for nature and a more country living feeling in town has been a great motivation to get trees planted. This past year the City along with Pine to Prairie Broadcasting had a special Arbor Day Tree Trivia where listeners needed to call in their answer to a special Arbor Day Tree Trivia question to be eligible to win a flowering crab tree. Also over the years Fosston youth have been educated during Arbor Day celebrations on this historic celebration as well as earth conservation and nature.

Fosston is a beautiful place to live and trees are a great way to beautify the earth. Arbor Day has been and continues to be a great way to celebrate nature, take care of our environment and teach our youth the importance of nature and conservation.