RALEIGH — Arbor Day is observed annually as a time to celebrate the importance of trees and the many benefits we receive from them.
Once deemed “the treeless plain,” Nebraska was home to the first Arbor Day celebration in 1872 with the planting of more than a million trees. The national observance of Arbor Day takes place the last Friday in April each year, while North Carolina observes Arbor Day the first Friday following March 15, so March 17 this year.
“The stakes are getting higher with challenges like land conversion continuing to take place,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Trees are a solution. Planting trees contributes to cleaner air and water and is one way we can all be part of the sustainable management and preservation of North Carolina’s forests for future generations.”
Planting trees and responsible urban forest management at the local level including community involvement and participation in urban forestry recognition programs are critical to sustaining healthy forest resources in North Carolina.
North Carolina is fortunate to have a variety of state forestry programs that protect forest resources by supporting landowners and communities with tree planting, site preparation and forest improvement. These include cost share programs such as the Forest Development Program and the Urban and Community Forestry Financial Assistance Program, both managed by the N.C. Forest Service. The NCFS Urban and Community Forestry Program also oversees the application and award process for Tree City USA, Tree Campus Higher Education and Tree Line USA.
“Community involvement is at the core of urban forestry,” said David Lane, state forester. “N.C. Forest Service staff are positioned to help landowners with managing their woods. Tree inventories and canopy cover assessments are a critical need for our state, and our staff can help communities accomplish those practices. Get started by contacting your NCFS county ranger’s office.”
Find your county ranger’s contact information at www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts. Learn more about the N.C. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program at www.ncforestservice.gov/Urban/Urban_Forestry.htm.