Arbor Day in Portland, 2013

(This is a guest blog post from the Portland Urban Forestry Commission’s Arbor Month Committee.)

You’ve probably heard of Earth Day, but April holds another important earth-friendly holiday you may not have heard of: Arbor Day! Dedicated to planting and celebrating trees, Arbor Day was first honored more than 140 years ago through the dedicated efforts of tree-lover, newspaper editor, and Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, J. Sterling Morton. Morton worked his entire life to promote the beauty and benefits of trees, and Arbor Day has stood the test of time: it’s spread from Nebraska to every US state and more than 30 other nations and is a testament to the widespread love of trees we share as humans.

From “Stump Town” to Tree City USA, Portland has a tremendous forest legacy. We are lucky to enjoy the benefits of mature trees, even as we plant young trees in an act of stewardship and goodwill to future generations. The library has many books to help you learn about the trees in your community and the world: you can go on a tour of remarkable trees right here in Portland with Phyllis Reynolds in Trees of Greater Portland. In The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, join Jack Nisbet for the story of an adventurous and dedicated Scottish botanist and imagine the Pacific Northwest before Portland was ever conceived. Finally, in American Canopy, Erik Rutkow explores our national heritage, detailing the link between an immense forested continent and the rise of the modern American nation. Find these as well as recommended tree ID books and books about trees for children on a booklist of recommended “Tree Reads” from your Neighborhood Tree Stewards.

In Portland, we can’t fit our love of trees into one day. There will be an Arbor Day Festival in Portland on April 20, 2013, but also be sure to come celebrate the urban forest with us all month long!  Learn how to use a tree ID book, go on a TREEsure hunt of heritage trees in Portland, take a bike-tour of the urban forest, or get dirty planting. This April, you can touch your heritage and leave a legacy.

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