Arbor Day

For other uses, see Arbor Day (disambiguation).
Arbor Day
Arbour Day

Volunteers planting a tree for Arbor Day (Rochester, Minnesota, 2009)
Observed by Multiple countries
Type Cultural
Significance A holiday celebrating trees.
Celebrations Planting and caring for trees, educating about the importance of trees.
Frequency annual
First time Nebraska City, Nebraska
Related to Greenery Day (Japan)

Arbor Day (or Arbour; from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Today, many countries observe such a holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season.


The naturalist Miguel Herrero Uceda at the monument to the first Arbor Day in the world, Villanueva de la Sierra (Spain) 1805.

First Arbor Day in the world

The Spanish village of Mondoñedo held the first documented arbor plantation festival in the world organized by its mayor in 1594. The place remains as Alameda de los Remedios and it is still planted with lime and horse-chestnut trees. A humble granite marker and a bronze plate recall the event. Additionally, the small Spanish village of Villanueva de la Sierra held the first modern Arbor Day, an initiative launched in 1805 by the local priest with the enthusiastic support of the entire population.[1]

While Napoleon was ravaging Europe with his ambition in this village in the Sierra de Gata lived a priest, don Ramón Vacas Roxo, which, according to the chronicles, "convinced of the importance of trees for health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and customs, decides to plant trees and give a festive air. The festival began on Carnival Tuesday with the ringing of two bells of the church, and the Middle and the Big. After the Mass, and even coated with church ornaments, don Ramón, accompanied by clergies, teachers and a large number of neighbours, planted the first tree, a poplar, in the place known as Valley of the Ejido. Tree plantations continued by Arroyada and Fuente de la Mora. Afterwards, there was a feast, and did not miss the dance. The party and plantations lasted three days. He drafted a manifesto in defence of the trees that was sent to surrounding towns to spread the love and respect for nature, and also he advised to make tree plantations in their localities.
Miguel Herrero Uceda, Arbor Day

First American Arbor Day

Birdsey Northrop

The first American Arbor Day was originated in Nebraska City, Nebraska, U.S., by J. Sterling Morton. On April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska.[1]

Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut was responsible for globalizing it when he visited Japan in 1883 and delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. In that same year, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide. He also brought his enthusiasm for Arbor Day to Australia, Canada, and Europe.[2]

McCreight and Theodore Roosevelt

Beginning in 1906, Pennsylvania conservationist Major Israel McCreight of DuBois, Pennsylvania, argued that President Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation speeches were limited to businessmen in the lumber industry and recommended a campaign of youth education and a national policy on conservation education.[3] McCreight urged President Roosevelt to make a public statement to school children about trees and the destruction of American forests. Conservationist Gifford Pinchot, Chief of the United States Forest Service, embraced McCreight’s recommendations and asked the President to speak to the public school children of the United States about conservation. On April 15, 1907, Roosevelt issued an "Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States"[4] about the importance of trees and that forestry deserves to be taught in U.S. schools. Pinchot wrote McCreight, "we shall all be indebted to you for having made the suggestion."[5]

Around the world

Arbor Day in Algeria


National Schools Tree Day is held on the last Friday of July for schools and National Tree Day the last Sunday in July throughout Australia. Many states have Arbor Day although only Victoria has Arbor Week, which was suggested by Premier Dick Hamer in the 1980s. Arbor Day has been observed in Australia since 20 June 1889.


International Day of Treeplanting is celebrated in Flanders on or around 21 March as a theme-day/educational-day/observance, not as public holidays. Tree planting is sometimes combined with awareness campaigns of the fight against cancer: Kom Op Tegen Kanker.


The Arbor Day (Dia da Árvore) is celebrated on September 21. It's not a national holiday. However, schools nationwide celebrate this day with environment-related activities, namely tree planting.

British Virgin Islands

Arbour Day is celebrated on November 22. It is sponsored by the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands. Activities include an annual national Arbour Day Poetry Competition and tree planting ceremonies throughout the territory.


Cambodia celebrates Arbor Day on July 9 with a tree planting ceremony attended by the king.[6]


Founded by Don Clark of Schomberg, Ontario for his wife Margret Clark in 1906. In Canada, National Forest Week is the last full week of September, and National Tree Day (Maple Leaf Day) falls on the Wednesday of that week.[7] Ontario celebrates Arbour Week from the last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May.[8] Prince Edward Island celebrates Arbour Day on the third Friday in May during Arbor Week.

Central African Republic

National Tree Planting Day is on July 20.


In 1981, the fourth session of the Fifth National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China adopted the Resolution on the Unfolding of a Nationwide Voluntary Tree-planting Campaign. This resolution established the Arbor Day (Chinese: 植树节) and stipulated that every able-bodied citizen between the ages of 11 and 60 should plant three to five trees per year or do the equivalent amount of work in seedling, cultivation, tree tending or other services. Supporting documentation instructs all units to report population statistics to the local afforestation committees as the basis for workload allocation. The People's Republic of China celebrates Arbor Day on March 12, a day founded by Lin Daoyang, continue to use following the date of Arbor Day of Republic of China.

Costa Rica

"Día del Árbol" is on June 15.

Czech Republic

Arbor Day in the Czech Republic is celebrated on October 20.


Arbor Day is on January 15.


Arbor Day ("Tag des Baumes") is on 25 April. First celebration was in 1952.


Van Mahotsav is an annual pan-Indian tree planting festival, occupying a week in the month of July. During this event millions of trees are planted. It was initiated in 1950 by K. M. Munshi, the then Union Minister for Agriculture and Food to create an enthusiasm in the mind of the populace for the conservation of forests and planting of trees.

The name Van Mahotsava (the festival of trees) originated in July 1947 after a successful tree-planting drive was undertaken in Delhi, in which national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Abul Kalam Azad participated. Paryawaran Sachetak Samiti, a leading environmental organization conducts mass events & concrete activities on this special day celebration each year. The week was simultaneously celebrated in a number of states in the country.


President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, planting a tree on 2016 Arbor Day

In Iran, it is known as "National Tree Planting Day". By Solar Hijri calendar, it is on the fifteenth day of month Esfand which usually corresponds with 5 March. This day is the first day of the "Natural Recyclable Resources Week" (March 5 to 12).

This is the time in which the saplings of the all kinds in terms of different climates of different parts of Iran would be shared among the people. They also are going to be taught the ways of planting trees.[9]


Tu Bishvat, Israel

The Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat, the new year for trees, is on the 15th day of the month of Shvat, which usually falls in January or February. Originally based on the date used to calculate the age of fruit trees for tithing as mandated in Leviticus 19:23–25, the holiday now is most often observed by planting trees, or raising money to plant trees.[10] Tu Bishvat is a semi official holiday in Israel, schools are open but Hebrew speaking schools will often go on tree planting excursions.


Japan celebrates a similarly themed Greenery Day, held on May 4. Although it has a similar theme to Arbor Day, its roots lie in celebration of the birthday of Emperor Hirohito.


National Tree Planting Day is on April 21. Often people plant palm trees and coconut trees along the Indian Ocean that borders the East coast of Kenya.


North Korea marks "Tree Planting Day" on March 2, when people across the country plant trees. This day is considered to combine traditional Asian cultural values with those of the country's dominant Communist ideology.[11][12][13] Conversely, the List of public holidays in South Korea does not include an Arbor Day.


National Tree Planting Day is usually on March 21 depending on the lunar cycle.


National Tree Planting Day is on the second Saturday in November.[14]

Republic of Congo

National Tree Planting Day is on November 6.

Republic of Macedonia

Having in mind the bad condition of the forest fund, and in particular the catastrophic wildfires which occurred in the summer of 2007, a citizen's initiative for afforestation was started in the Republic of Macedonia. The campaign by the name 'Tree Day-Plant Your Future' was first organized on 12 March 2008, when an official non-working day was declared and more than 150,000 Macedonians planted 2 million trees in one day (symbolically, one for each citizen). Six million more were planted in November the same year, and another 12,5 million trees in 2009. This has been established as a tradition and takes place every year.


National Tree Planting Day is on the 2nd Monday of December.


President Enrique Peña Nieto plants a tree in Balleza, Chihuahua to commemorate the Día del Árbol 2013.

The Día del Árbol was established in Mexico in 1959 with President Adolfo López Mateos issuing a decree that it should be observed on the 2nd Thursday of July.[15]


National Tree Planting Day is on the 2nd Saturday of May and October. It is first National Tree Planting Day was celebrated on 2010-05-08


Its first Arbor Day was celebrated on October 8, 2004.[16] It takes place annually on the second Friday of October.[17]


Since conference and of the Food and Agriculture Organization's publication World Festival of Trees, and a resolution of the United Nations in 1954: "The Conference, recognising the need of arousing mass consciousness of the aesthetic, physical and economic value of trees, recommends a World Festival of Trees to be celebrated annually in each member country on a date suited to local conditions"; it has been adopted by the Netherlands. In 1957, the National Committee Day of Planting Trees/Foundation of National Festival of Trees (Nationale Boomplantdag/Nationale Boomfeestdag) was created.

On the third Wednesday in March each year (near the spring equinox), three quarters of Dutch schoolchildren aged 10/11 and Dutch celebrities plant trees. Stichting Nationale Boomfeestdag organizes all the activities in the Netherlands for this day. Some municipalities however plant the trees around 21 September because of the planting season.[18]

In 2007, the 50th anniversary was celebrated with special golden jubilee-activities.

New Zealand

New Zealand's first Arbor Day planting was in Greytown in the Wairarapa on 3 July 1890. The first official celebration will take place in Wellington in August 2012, with the planting of pohutukawa and Norfolk pines along Thorndon Esplanade.

Born in 1855, Dr Leonard Cockayne (generally recognised as the greatest botanist who has lived, worked, and died in New Zealand) worked extensively on native plants throughout New Zealand and wrote many notable botanical texts. Even as early as the 1920s he held a vision for school students of New Zealand to be involved in planting native trees and plants in their school grounds. This vision bore fruit and schools in New Zealand have long planted native trees on Arbor Day.

Since 1977, New Zealand has celebrated Arbor Day on June 5, which is also World Environment Day, prior to then Arbor Day, in New Zealand, was celebrated on August 4 – which is rather late in the year for tree planting in New Zealand hence the date change.

What the Department of Conservation (DOC) does for Arbor Day: Many of DOC's Arbor Day activities focus on ecological restoration projects using native plants to restore habitats that have been damaged or destroyed by humans or invasive pests and weeds. There are great restoration projects underway around New Zealand and many organisations including community groups, landowners, conservation organisations, iwi, volunteers, schools, local businesses, nurseries and councils are involved in them. These projects are part of a vision to protect and restore the indigenous biodiversity.


Since 1975, Niger has celebrated Arbor Day as part of its Independence Day: 3 August. On this day, aiding the fight against desertification, each Nigerien plants a tree.


National tree plantation day of Pakistan ( قومی شجر کاری دن ) is celebrated on 18 August.[19]


Since 1947, Arbor Day in the Philippines has been institutionalized to be observed throughout the nation by planting trees and ornamental plants and other forms of relevant activities. Arbor Day in the Philippines has been commemorated in the Philippines since 1947 when its practice was instituted through Proclamation No. 30.[20] It was subsequently revised by Proclamation No. 41,[21] issued in the same year. In 1955, the commemoration was extended from a day to a week and was moved to the last full week of July.[22] Over two decades later, its commemoration was moved to the second week of June.[23] In 2003, the commemorations were reduced from a week to a day and was moved to June 25 per Proclamation No. 396.[24] The same proclamation directed "the active participation of all government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, private sector, schools, civil society groups and the citizenry in tree planting activity".[25] It was subsequently revised by Proclamation 643[26] in the succeeding year.

In 2012, Republic Act 10176[27] was passed, which revived tree planting events "as [a] yearly event for local government units".[28] Since 2012, many local arbor day celebrations have been commemorated, as in the cases of Natividad[29] and Tayug[30] in Pangasinan and Santa Rita in Pampanga.[31]


In Poland, Arbor Day is celebrated since 2002. Each year, on October 10. lots of Polish people plant trees as well as participate in events organized by ecological foundations. Moreover, Polish Forest Inspectorates and schools give special lectures and lead ecological awareness campaigns.


Arbor Day is celebrated on March 21. It's not a national holiday but instead schools nationwide celebrate this day with environment-related activities, namely tree planting.


Arbor Day in Samoa is celebrated on the first Friday in November.

South Africa

Arbor Day was celebrated from 1945 until 2000 in South Africa, when the national government extended it to National Arbor Week, which lasts from 1–7 September. Two trees, one common and one rare, are highlighted to increase public awareness of indigenous trees, while various "greening" activities are undertaken by schools, businesses and other organizations.

South Korea

Main article: Sikmogil

Arbor Day (Sikmogil, 식목일) was a public holiday in South Korea on April 5 until 2005. The day is still celebrated, though. On non-leap years, the day coincides with Hansik.


Planting holm oaks in Pescueza

In Spain is usually held on the International Forest Day on 21 March, but following the 1915 decree spirit that forced to celebrate the Arbor Day throughout Spain, each municipality or collective decides the date for its Arbor Day, usually between February and May. In Villanueva de la Sierra (Extremadura), where the first Arbor Day in the world was held in 1805, it is celebrated, as on that occasion, on Tuesday Carnaval. It is a great day in the local festive calendar.[32]

As an example of commitment to nature, the small town of Pescueza, with only 180 inhabitants, organizes every spring a large plantation of holm oaks, which is called the "Festivalino" promoted by city council, several foundations and citizen participation where several thousand people together repopulates naked lands and regaining life. All wrapped up in a fun party atmosphere, joy, music and renew.[33]

Sri Lanka

National Tree Planting Day is on November 15.


Arbor Day (植樹節) has been a traditional holiday in the Republic of China since 1927. In 1914, the founder of the agricultural college at Nanking University suggested to the now-defunct Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry that China should imitate the practice in the United States of Arbor Day. The holiday would be held the same day as the Qingming Festival. However, for unknown reasons, the suggestion was not made through the formal process, so nothing came from this original request. After the successful conclusion of the Northern Expedition, the now-defunct Ministry of Agriculture and Minerals formally petitioned the Executive Yuan to establish Arbor Day to commemorate the passing of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Father of Modern China. He had been a major advocate of afforestation in his life, because it would increase people's livelihoods. The Executive Yuan approved Arbor Day in the spirit of Dr. Sun that year and has since been celebrated on March 12 for this purpose.


National Tree Planting Day is on April 1


National Tree Planting Day is on March 24.

United Kingdom

First mounted in 1975, National Tree Week is a celebration of the start of the winter tree planting season. Around a million trees are planted each year by schools, community organizations and local authorities.

United States

Main article: Arbor Day Foundation
Arbor Day community festival in Rochester, Minnesota

Arbor Day was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska City, Nebraska. By the 1920s, each state in the United States had passed public laws that stipulated a certain day to be Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day observance.

National Arbor Day is celebrated every year on the last Friday in April; it is a civic holiday in Nebraska. Other states have selected the time of year in which to celebrate their own Arbor Day.

The customary observance is to plant a tree. On the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.[1]


Venezuela recognizes Día del Arbol (Day of the Tree) on the last Sunday of May.

See also


  1. 1 2 "The History of Arbor Day" at the Arbor Day Foundation. Accessed on April 26, 2013.
  2. Birdsey Grant Northrop (PDF), retrieved 2009-04-25
  3. M.I. McCreight, Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation Why: A Thirty-Four Year Moratorium on Unpublished Records (1940), Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, at p.12, Hereinafter cited "Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation Why".
  4. Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States
  5. "Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation Why"
  6. "Cambodian King Attends the Celebration of Annual Arbor Day (July 9)". Agenche Kampuchea Presse. Agenche Kampuchea Presse. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  7. The Canadian Forestry Association. Retrieved 8 April 2016
  8. P & A Urban Forestry Consulting Ltd. Retrieved 8 April 2016
  9. "Tree Planting Day". Tebyan Cultural and Information Center. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  10. Judaism 101: Tu B'Shevat. Accessed August 20, 2007.
  11. Tree-Planting Day in the DPR-Korea embodies Socialist and traditional Asian Cultural Values
  12. Tree-planting Day Marked in DPRK Archived April 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. North Korea Tree-planting Day on YouTube
  15. "Hoy, Día del Árbol en México". Azteca Noticias. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  16. "Arbor Day Around The World". Arbor day foundation. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  18. Boomfeestdag the organisations address is Spoorlaan 444 5038 CH TILBURG
  19. 18 August declared as NTPD
  20. "Proclamation No. 30, s. 1947". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 1947-07-30. Retrieved 2015-09-02. ... hereby proclaim the second Saturday of September of each year as Arbor Day, to be observed in schools and elsewhere ...
  21. "Proclamation No. 41, s. 1947". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 1947-09-03. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  22. "Proclamation No. 129, s. 1955". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 1955-03-05. Retrieved 2015-09-02. ... hereby proclaim the week ending with the last Saturday of July of each year as Arbor Week to be observed throughout the country ...
  23. "Proclamation No. 1547, s. 1976". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 1976-05-18. Retrieved 2015-09-02. ... hereby proclaim the period from June 7 to 12, 1976, and every second week of June thereafter, as ARBOR WEEK, to be observed throughout the nation ...
  24. "Proclamation No. 396, s. 2003". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 2003-06-02. Retrieved 2016-01-02. ... hereby declare Wednesday, June 25, 2003 as PHILIPPINES ARBOR DAY, to be observed throughout the nation ...
  25. "Proclamation No. 396, s. 2003". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 2003-06-02. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  26. "Proclamation No. 643, s. 2004". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 2004-06-09. Retrieved 2016-01-02. ... hereby amend Proclamation No. 396 dated 02 June 2003 by declaring every 25th of June as Philippines Arbor Day to be observed throughout the nation ...
  27. "Republic Act No. 10176". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  28. "Arbor Day in the Philippines". The Manila Times. 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  29. "117th Philippines Independence Day and Arbor Day". Municipality of Natividad Official Website. 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  30. "ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION 2014". Municipality of Tayug. 2014-07-31. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  31. "ARBOR DAY in SANTA RITA, PAMPANGA". Official Website of Municipality of Santa Rita, Province of Pampanga. July 2014. Retrieved 2016-01-02.
  32. The oldest environmentalist festival in the world was celebrated in Villanueva. Sierra de Gata News. February 26, 2014
  33. Herrero Uceda, Miguel y Elisa: Mi Extremadura. 2011, pages 147-148

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