Many Ways to Take Part in National Arbor Day

All 81 Iowa TreeCityUSA locations will have activities to celebrate Arbor Day

April 28, 2017, 9:00 am | Gabriele Edwards

AMES, Iowa – National Arbor Day celebrates its 145-year anniversary on Friday, April 28. During its first celebration in 1872, it is estimated that more than one million trees were planted across the state of Nebraska. In the years since, the event has grown to a worldwide celebration of trees, nature and environmental stewardship. The overarching goal of National Arbor Day is to bring people together in communities to cherish, protect and enhance natural resources.

Arbor DayJ. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day, said this about the value of the event: “…all the people strive on Arbor Day to plant many, many trees, both forest and fruit. May the day and the observance thereof be cherished in every household, and its name and fruits become as a shower of blessing to the long lines of generations who shall succeed us.”

A large number of towns across the state of Iowa will be hosting events this weekend in celebration of National Arbor Day. All 81 communities that have TreeCityUSA designations have an activity planned that is open to the public. If not sure whether or not a community is a TreeCityUSA, the list of cities can be found at or by contacting an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office.

There are many ways to participate, even if there are no local TreeCityUSA events. “Participate in a town-wide celebration, plant a tree, explore a park or simply enjoy the outdoors with your family this weekend,” said Gabbi Edwards, urban forestry specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Celebrate National Arbor Day in your own unique way and reflect on the importance of trees in communities and forests across the world.”

A classic activity for National Arbor Day is to plant a tree at home, in a park or at a school. ISU Extension and Outreach offers a wealth of knowledge regarding species selection and proper planting and care of trees such as:

There are also more creative ways to celebrate Arbor Day. Join a group of friends and clean a public park or downtown area, read a book about trees, explore the local and state parks or have a picnic in the shade. Visit the National Arbor Day Foundation website for more unique and exciting ways to celebrate National Arbor Day, as well as for educational materials, statistics specific to the value of trees, and planning guides to help create and organize events for next year.

As John Muir once said, “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

About the Authors: