Arbor Day

terrapass blog arborday

Written by TerraPass


Since the first Arbor Day celebration in 1872, this unique holiday has helped inspire countless people to plant a tree—many of which are still standing to this day. It’s no secret that trees play a critical role in the fight against climate change. In fact, responsible forest management is one of the carbon offset projects we support here at terrapass. This effort to increase trees and reduce carbon emissions is so valuable for the planet as a whole, and we invite you to do your part this Abor Day. On April 24, go outside, plant a tree, and watch it grow as we move together towards a better, cleaner planet.

Arbor Day Facts

Arbor Day, which means “Tree Day,” in Latin, has inspired some pretty great things over the years, including: [1]

  • 1872: 1 million trees in Nebraska during the first Arbor Day
  • 1972: The Arbor Day Foundation is formed to celebrate Arbor Day’s 100th anniversary
  • 2001: Americans vote to make the oak tree America’s National Tree
  • 2010: The Arbor Day Foundation reached the goal of planting 20 million trees in 20 years
  • 2015: The 50 millionth Arbor Day Foundation tree was planted

When was Arbor Day Started?

Arbor Day began in the United States when Julius Sterling Morton and his wife, Caroline, proposed there should be a day to encourage people to plant trees in their community. The Nebraska Board of Agriculture agreed, and on April 10, 1872, the first Arbor Day was celebrated. [2]

When was the First Arbor Day in America?

As the tradition of Arbor Day continued, more and more people and locations began to participate. Then in 1970, Richard Nixon made Arbor Day a nationally observed day. For most areas around the U.S., Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April. However, some states adjust their date to coincide with optimal planting times for trees in their area. [3]

Why is Arbor Day Important?

Like Earth Day, the true importance of Arbor Day is its ability to raise awareness for environmental issues around the globe. Taking time out to plant a tree and educating young people about the importance of trees can help promote sustainable environmental movements for generations to come.

Another key reason Arbor Day matters is the sheer number of trees it has helped plant. To date, hundreds of millions of trees have been planted in over 16 countries around the world, many of which are still growing today—helping provide all of us with oxygen and reduce carbon emissions globally.

Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day

There are countless ways you can celebrate Arbor Day individually or with a group. For most, planting a tree is first on their celebration list! Other ways you can celebrate Arbor Day, include:

  • Attending a local event
  • Reading a book about trees
  • Volunteering with a tree-planting organization
  • Donating money to a reputable organization
  • Enjoying the great outdoors
  • Encouraging others to participate
  • Making tree-inspired art
  • Supporting sustainable forestry
  • Buying carbon offsets

For more ideas on how to celebrate, visit

Arbor Day & COVID-19

Arbor Day 2020 presents some unique challenges and opportunities for those looking to celebrate. COVID-19 has made social distancing a must, and has quickly changed many planned events and celebrations. However, there are still ways you can celebrate while following social distancing rules. The Arbor Day Foundation has six suggestions on how to celebrate during the Coronavirus pandemic, including: [4]

  • Hiking through a forest
  • Learning about nature online
  • Drawing your favorite tree
  • Creating nature-based crafts
  • Ordering a tree
  • Becoming a member of the Arbor Day Foundation

Arbor Day Foundation Free Trees

In years past, The Arbor Day Foundation and other organizations have helped provide free or discounted trees. Be sure to check out for more details on any planned giveaways and free tree opportunities. Many local forestry organizations also provide free trees for planting on Arbor Day.

Forestry Carbon Credits

At terrapass, we are passionate about trees 365 days of the year. We proudly offer forestry offsets that help save trees and promote sustainable forestry projects, including the City of Arcata Community Forest located in Northern California. Offsets from this project come from a tract of land that was purchased and added to the City of Arcata’s community forest in 2003. The land was purchased from a timber company and was determined to be at high risk of intensive harvesting or cutting. The forest is now certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) management standards and absorbs and stores approximately 2,500 more metric tons of C02 a year than neighboring forests, or the equivalent of taking 550 cars off the road each year. To learn more about this project and others that we support, check out our Sustainable Living Projects page.


  1. Arbor Day Foundation Timeline,
  2. Arbor Day History,
  3. History of Arbor Day,
  4. 6 Ways to Celebrate Arbor Day in a Time of Social-Distancing,

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