April is dedicated to earthly celebrations and awareness events, such as Water Awareness Month (in Arizona), Arbor Day, and Earth Day.
National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. However, many states observe Arbor Day on different dates to coincide with the most favorable local tree planting times. This year National Arbor Day is April 29.
The first official Arbor Day in the United States was established in 1874. Nebraska pioneer J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and lover of nature, encouraged settlers to plant trees as windbreaks, fuel, and building materials. He wrote articles to encourage civic organizations to also plant trees. He proposed a tree-planting holiday called “Arbor Day” in 1872. It became a legal holiday in Nebraska in 1874. Other states soon followed suit.
Some Benefits of Trees:
- Adds property value
- Provides shade, which could lower your electric bill
- Creates a space to gather
- Consumes carbon dioxide and produces oxygen
- Reduces storm runoff
Throughout the Valley, many Water – Use It Wisely partners participated in one or more event to celebrate Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Water Awareness Month.
On April 13, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane read the city’s proclamation, and Chris Erickson, from the Arizona Forestry Division, presented the city of Scottsdale with its 34th consecutive Tree City USA accreditation and 24th constructive Growth Award. The Scottsdale Garden Club donated a Red Push Pistache tree. Mayor Lane along with Scottsdale citizens and city employees, including, Scottsdale Parks and Recreation Director Reed Pryor and members of the Scottsdale Garden Club, planted the Red Push Pistache tree at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.
Tree City USA is a program developed by The Arbor Day Foundation, which encourages communities across the nation to plant trees and celebrate the urban tree canopy. As of 2014, there were 27 communities in Arizona with the Tree City USA designation. Scottsdale is the longest continuous city with the designation at 34 years, followed closely by Pinetop-Lakeside (31 years) and Phoenix (30 years).
To continue the celebration, Scottsdale Water teamed up with the For Our City Scottsdale program to distribute free trees and provide information about low-water-use plants at the Old Town Farmer’s Market on April 23, 2016. Over 140 trees went to new homes, along with information about the benefit of trees, new tree planting guides, and Scottsdale Water’s conservation programs.
Yesterday, Scottsdale Water participated in an employee Earth Day event at Vanguard. Over 300 employees attended and learned about finding leaks, low-water-use plants, and water efficiency.
So today, as you celebrate National Arbor Day, take a moment to observe the beauty and the function of the trees around you. And go ahead, hug a tree!
Happy Arbor Day!
Jennifer Davidson is a Water Conservation Specialist with Scottsdale Water, one of fifteen Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.
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