Sure, it’s one of the cornier lesser-known holidays, but I’ve always liked the idea of Arbor Day. I mean, it’s a day to celebrate trees fer gosh sakes. And yesterday—which I spent very pleasurably in my backyard with a raft of new plants—I got to thinking about how we should spend more time celebrating growing things.
But it wasn’t until I came to work this morning, planning to write a little Arbor Day post, that I learned that every day is Arbor Day. No, seriously: every day is Arbor Day.
If you live in Oregon, it’s actually Arbor Week right now. But I (and everyone else in Washington), only get a single Arbor Day, and it’s on April 11 this year. Idaho’s is April 27, the same day as Montana’s. California, I missed yours—sorry. Your Arbor Week ended two weeks ago. Alaska, on the other hand, has to wait until May 21.
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I’m guessing that the diversity of dates is related to the optimal tree planting time in local climates. But still, there’s something amusing about the fact that Americans can celebrate Arbor Day starting in early November (Hawaii) and keep on going through Alaska’s late spring date.
What’s more, the holiday is celebrated everywhere from Barbados to Namibia to Yugoslavia. All—naturally—on different days or during different weeks, making it almost true that every day is Arbor Day.
The oddity, however, is Canada. Admittedly, I only spent a couple of minutes with Google, but I couldn’t find much about Arbor Day in Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia both have springtime dates, but I’ve got nothing for British Columbia. And nothing nationally. Is it because Canadians have already reached the next level of arborial conciousness?
Surely our green northern friends have a dedicated day of dendrology. Or something. Does it go by another name in Canada? Someone please help me out.
But even better than searching the web for Canadian holidays, get outdoors to soak up a little spring sunshine—and then go plant something. You’ll feel like a million bucks.
Did you ever see Charlie Brown’s Arbor Day? It’s way better than the Great Pumpkin.
A chance to brag:my girlfriend is the Program Coordinator for Denver’s Million Tree Initiative (GreenPrint Denver – how cool is that?), and the Front Range is planting 7000 trees in 7 days for this coming Arbor Day. :o)
We have reason to celebrate in King County. According to the yearly land use reports: “King County has maintained its forest land with very little change in the total acreage of forest since 1995…. This is a reversal of the trend set between 1972 and 1996 when King County forest land decreased by 33%.” http://www.metrokc.gov/budget/benchmrk/bench04/landuse/LandUse04_39.pdf And this reflects conditions *prior* to the the CAO ordinance and requirements to keep 50-65% of rural parcels forested or as open space.
Unincorporated KingCo was also developing at that time. The GMA has limited certain types of development that would cut forest land (altho KingCo and PierceCo admit that UGAs aren’t stopping sprawl as they’d like). But we can contrast King’s trumpeting of good GMA news with an arty in the TNT recently:Hundreds of thousands of acres of Western Washington forests are being converted to home sites, hobby farms and commercial developments. The sell-off of commercial timberland is changing the regional landscape in ways residents and government officials never anticipated. The result is not only suburban sprawl but also what some decry as a permanent scar on the face of the Evergreen State.”We’re dismantling the forest, tearing it up, breaking it down into little parcels. It isn’t the forest it used to be,” said Brian Boyle, a former state lands commissioner and now part-time leader of a University of Washington College of Forest Resources think tank. Relentless human population growth and a mild climate are driving this boat.
Agreed and I know. Some of the satellite images of Washington forests shock me – rural KC looks much better. It also makes me wonder if we’re spending political capital on the right efforts.
I spent my time, Arie, at UW with a grad advisor who is a landcover change modeler, looking at urban ecology and ecosystem change and buried deep in the minutiae of change in Puget Sound. I see your voice as ‘ground truthing’ my time there. Looking at change over time in sat pictures is indeed shocking and I recommend everyone should do it. One wonders how much more the Sound can take…
Actually as far as I know we have never had anything here in BC (though I think some municipalities might on their own. I do ecological restoration work, from that perspective its actually a wee bit late in the season to be doing any tree planting unless you can have them watered (usually its fall and early in the year, after that it gets too warm, too dry and the poor trees get really stressed. Having said that, for me and I hope many others, trees are a blessing we count everyday, so as you said – every day is arbor day!
Think trees are disappearing now? Wait until petroleum goes into decline!I submit that the only reason modern civilization has not clear-cut the entire globe (as countless civilizations have done on a regional basis in the past) is the availability of cheap energy.I mourn for our forests when oil runs out.
For a very long time, grade 1 students have been given a tree in May for arbor day in Alberta. Canada is certainly not the oddity! Check out http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/Arbor_Day_Teacher_Resource_Guide.pdf
“National” Arbor Day in Canada is called “Maple Leaf Day”. http://www.arbrescanada.ca/maple-leaf-day/index.htmMany Canadian provinces have their tree-planting celebrations on different months. For example, Ontario celebrates it not in ONE day, but a WHOLE WEEK “Arbor Week” which is celebrated from last Friday of April to Mother’s Day. 🙂
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