8 Creative Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day
Ushering in a season full of new plants, flowers, and trees, April has long been synonymous with rejuvenation and regrowth. So, it makes perfect sense that this month hosts one of the most important eco-conscious celebrations, known as Arbor Day.
Equal parts movement and holiday, Arbor Day is a tribute to nature and forest life as a whole. So, whether you want to pay homage to this day by doing something solo or organizing an event with your friends, family, and coworkers, these eight creative activities will help you make the most out of this special day.
What is Arbor Day?
Celebrated on the last Friday of April (that'd be the 29th for 2022), Arbor Day(1) is a holiday that celebrates nature – and, specifically, trees. Its purpose is to encourage people to plant, upkeep, and preserve trees in their communities, giving Earth a much-needed oxygen boost. Arbor Day can also be a great way to teach yourself and your little ones more about forest life and its contribution to the Earth's ecosystem, mainly through fun activities and collective actions.
1. Plant a Tree
The most obvious way to show your appreciation for nature on Arbor Day is to plant a tree yourself. You can either plant a specific variety of trees in your backyard (say, apple trees) or fill up a small clearing with pine trees in a nearby forest. Either way, make sure to check if the laws in your state allow such actions before you proceed.
While you can do this activity solo, you could share the joys of tree-planting with friends, family, or even coworkers by joining a related event where you'll pick the perfect spot, dig some holes, and tuck the young roots into the fertile soil. #TheJoysOfGardening
2. Create a Plant Scrapbook
Another engaging way to celebrate Arbor Day is to create your own plant scrapbook. While it may sound like a tedious job, it's actually pretty fun and could intrigue your kid's curiosity (if you want to engage in this activity with your family). You could also go at it solo; in which case, you could look for rarer and more intriguing plant varieties.
To create the scrapbook, just gather the most common (or photogenic) leaves and tree flowers that you can find in your area, dry them out, and attach them to a notebook (customized or not). To complete the task, write the name of each flower or leaf and mention a few fun facts about it.
3. Clean Up a Nearby Site
While trees feed on decomposing matter, there's a certain type of debris that shouldn't be near their roots. We're talking about plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, glass bottles, and even fabrics. To help trees thrive even more, you could organize a local clean-up event on Arbor Day, where members of your community will clear up the trash from a nearby park or forest. You can hit two birds with one stone by recycling the items that can be recycled out of the debris you just collected.
4. Practice Sustainable Eating
As we become more aware of how our food habits impact the environment, we realize that plants are essential to sustainable eating. So, in honor of Arbor Day, you could make a dish that features all the fantastic edibles that grow on trees, from fruits like apples and cherries to unique ingredients like maple syrup and nuts. This culinary take on the holiday could inspire you (and perhaps the people around you) to practice sustainable eating more often and is also a great way to acknowledge how trees contribute to our living.
5. Take a Nature Walk
Since Arbor Day falls the same time that spring shows its first signs, Arbor Day is the perfect excuse to take your first hike of the season. Just pick your favorite trail (or one you haven't explored yet) and sink into nature's beauty. Look twice as you spot a budding or a century-old tree and identify each species with the help of a book or a guide. If you're living close to a national park(2), you can even plan a day-long hike with your family or friends and make sure you chat with the rangers and learn more about the different tree species that thrive in the region. To make your nature walk even more exciting, you can even throw a picnic somewhere along the way – perhaps when you reach a small glade or a stream.
6. Host a "Green" Expo
Doing something on your own sure is impressive. But engaging others into celebrating Arbor Day is where you could really make a change. So, if you're willing to get others into the tree-planting spirit, you could host a "green" expo at your workplace. Just feature local agencies and businesses that promote or organize tree-planting activities and drives.
And yes, this activity is tailored to coworkers and neighborhood committees. But if you feel like it, you could also host an informal "expo" for your family members. Just invite them to participate in "green" activities around the house, from composting dead leaves and foliage to making room for a seasonal garden to planting trees that benefit pollinators (think bees, butterflies, etc.)
7. Make Ornaments for Your Backyard Trees
If your thumb is more brown than green and crafts are more up your alley, you could make a few ornaments to dazzle your backyard trees (or even indoor plants). Just draw a few small paper windows and a door and stick them on a tree trunk to make it look like a garden gnome lives in it. Or paint a tire and hang it on a branch so that you can sow your climbing plants in it without them crowding your walls. You could even paint a tree stump to make it look like a mosaic. The sky is the limit when it comes to ideas!
8. Learn More About the History of Arbor Day
Perfect for your inner bookworm, this activity will not only inspire you to participate in this holiday but will also make you want to raise awareness in the years to come. Unlike many similar holidays (like Earth Day, which counts just 50+ short years), Arbor Day has a long history – and an interesting one at that. It all started when pioneers in the Nebraska region noticed the lack of trees in the surrounding area. So, newspaper editor and local J. Sterling Morton decided to do something about it by forming civic groups that planted trees every chance they got. But what started as mere enthusiasm of one individual grew into a yearly tradition for many over the years. Check the official Arbor Day Foundation(3) page for more facets of the holiday's fascinating history.
How would you like to celebrate Arbor Day? Let us know in the comment section down below!
- Find a Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)