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“Arbor” is Latin for tree, so Arbor Day is a holiday when we stop, take notice of our surroundings and plant trees in our yard and community to beautify our surroundings, clean the air, give homes to birds & creatures – and more.
Arbor Day is celebrated around the world today, but how did it all begin?
The First Arbor Day Ever
The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Villanueva de la Sierra, Spain in 1805 as a 3 day festival focused on planting trees thanks to a Manifesto in Defence of Trees penned by a local priest.
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.
First Arbor Day in the US
(Kids can read an interesting history book about his life at arborday.org.)
We celebrate National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April in his honor.
Eventually all states adopted an Arbor Day on the date that is best for planting trees in their area. To see when your state observes Arbor Day, check this map.
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Photo of monument in Villanueva de la Sierra Spain by naturalist Miguel Herrero Uceda
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Once a week we'll tell you the upcoming daily celebrations & the articles you may have missed.