The first Arbor Day in the world was held in 1805 in a small Spanish village. On April 10, 1872 in Nebraska City, Nebraska the first American Arbor Day took place. On that day over one million trees were planted in Nebraska! On April 15, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an “Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States” proclaiming the importance of trees and declaring that forestry should be taught in U.S. schools. Arbor Day is now celebrated on the last Friday in April in the US and this holiday is celebrated (usually in the spring) in many countries around the world. Today is the 142nd Arbor Day in the US!
The beautiful and mature trees lining the streets are one of the first things visitors notice when they visit Harrington Park. The welcoming brown and white banners on the telephone poles celebrate trees! Harrington Park has acres of woodlands and wetlands bordering Dorockey’s Run, the Hackensack River, and the reservoir. Over the last few years violent storms have caused a fair amount of damage to trees throughout Harrington Park. In celebration of Earth Day – and knowing that Arbor Day followed only a few days later – four white flowering dogwoods were planted at Don Horsey Park on April 22nd. One tree was dedicated to the memory of Mark Becker, a co-founder of the environmental group BergenSWAN. This organization’s primary focus is on the preservation of the natural lands surrounding the drinking water supply reservoirs in Bergen and Rockland counties. Lori Charkey, the other co-founder of Bergen SWAN and Mark’s life partner, addressed our Earth Day gathering and spoke- especially to the children gathered for this ceremony– about the work of Bergen SWAN and how over 3000 acres of watershed were preserved as a result of their work. Her focus on the children was wonderful and especially reminiscent of the 1906 efforts of conservationist Major Israel McCreight. His efforts to promote a campaign of youth education and a national policy on conservation education eventually led to President Roosevelt’s “Arbor Day” Proclamation. May our dogwoods grow and thrive and may our children do likewise!
Thank you Melchior DiGiacomo for this photo of the adult participants!