Friday, April 29, 2011

Under the Arbor

They give us shade on a hot summer day. They provide food and shelter for a vast community of animals. They filter the air and moderate the effects of environmental toxins. These silent leafy guardians are near us every day, and yet we quite often ignore them; we don't celebrate their beauty or learn from their steadfast presence. So today, on Arbor Day, we pay tribute to trees.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care. The first Arbor Day took place in Nebraska in 1872; it was the idea of J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and pioneer who came from Detroit to the then treeless plains of Nebraska in 1854. Morton and his wife, both nature lovers, quickly planted trees, shrubs and flowers at their new home. Like other homesteaders, he missed the trees of his former landscape, but he also recognized that trees were important as windbreaks to prevent soil loss, as well as for fuel, shade, and building materials. Morton used his position as a journalist, and later, as secretary of the Nebraska Territory, to advocate for trees and tree planting.

"On January 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called 'Arbor Day' at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. Arbor Day was officially proclaimed by the young state's Gov. Robert W. Furnas on March 12, 1874, and the day itself was observed April 10, 1874. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance." ( The most common day for observing Arbor Day today is the last Friday in April.

In 1972, on the 100 year anniversary of the first Arbor Day, the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation was established to promote education about and conservation of trees. For more information about Arbor Day and to learn more about trees - their identification, protection, planting and care, visit the Foundation's website,

In celebration of the wonderful tree, let's read Ilan Shamir's insightful poem, Advice from a Tree, while we see how BBEST team artisans illustrate the beauty of our leafy friends.

Advice from a Tree
by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth

Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings

Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring

The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.

Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty

Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

For more about Ilan Shamir and his nature advice, tree-planting greetings, and nature-inspired journals and cards, please visit


Julie G. said...

I LOVE trees! NIce.

yankeegirl said...

I'm a tree hugger myself!! Love the arbor day homage and all of the trees that went with it. Thanks for including my birches!

ZudaGay said...

Great post, Liv! What beautiful tree items. :) When I was in grade school we got a tree on Arbor Day to take home and plant. That was so cool!

Denise Cerro said...

All the way from Paris I'm sending tree love! This is a beautiful selection of trees to honor Arbor Day.

Sixsisters said...

Fabulous Liv. Thanks foe all of the info.
Thank you for including my "Wonder Tree".

MagdaleneJewels said...

I never knew the history of "Arbor Day" - thanks for sharing. A perfect choices of "trees" from our Bbest artists to celebrate Arbor Day. Hope it helps invite more people to go out and take more notice of nature and its values. Great Blog!!!!

Tinker Pixie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tinker Pixie said...

Liv, this is great! I was surprised to find my Tree pendant there :)
I didn't know about "Arbor Day". Very interesting!

Jill said...

Great post. I love all the trees. Thank you for including my box.

Pam said...

What a wonderful and informative post about Arbor Day! I loved it. When we first moved to our home 38 years ago, there were few trees. We ordered a bundle from the state nursery (redbud, dogwood, and a mix of pine trees). We have lots of trees now! The poem is beautiful as are the celebration of trees selections created by our team members. Great job!