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Alaska Arbor Day is Monday, May 17, 2010

Arbor Day is America's National Tree Planting Holiday, the day we set aside to plant ceremonial trees, educate children about the importance of trees, and honor the important role trees play in our daily lives.

The first Arbor Day was proposed by J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and editor for Nebraska’s first newspaper, and took place on April 10, 1872. Arbor Day began as a need for trees on the open plains of Nebraska and one man’s desire to impress upon others the importance of trees. More than 1 million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day. Today, Arbor Day has grown into a worldwide celebration of trees and tree planting.

In Alaska we are fortunate to have a close connection to the forest. Our communities have abundant parks and forested areas that play an important role in creating healthy, safe and livable communities. Trees and forests perform many essential services that pay us back in many ways– they clean our air and water, regulate the earth’s climate, help us conserve energy and in turn, increase our energy security, they increase the value of our property and make our communities more attractive to visitors and businesses, provide homes and food for wildlife and beautify our neighborhoods and parks.

Alaska celebrates Arbor Day on the third Monday in May; this year it is on Monday, May 17. Be sure to thank the trees for all that they do for us by planting more and taking care of those that we have already. If you would like to learn more about planting and caring for trees or would like to join in an Arbor Day celebration near you, visit the Alaska Division of Forestry Community Forestry Program’s website at http://forestry.alaska.gov/community. For a list of Arbor Day celebrations around the state go to the news and events page.

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