The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

May 1, 2013

Plantings mark Arbor Day

Tree added to Garfield Park


DANVILLE — Several tree plantings have taken place in the area, including on Wednesday, to mark last week’s Arbor Day.

A tree was planted Wednesday at Garfield Park across from the Boys and Girls Club.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Danville Special Services Superintendent Steve Lane, about the number of tree plantings that have taken place.

“There have been quite a few trees donated,” Lane said.

He added that having schools and other organizations eager to get children involved is great.

On Wednesday, Keep Vermilion County Beautiful sponsored the tree and was given a certificate of appreciation. The Boys and Girls Club also received a certificate.

The Danville Tree Committee has been encouraging residents, civic groups, and businesses to plant trees to commemorate Arbor Day.

Several organizations have donated trees for planting on public property. These include Governor Bradford Chapter of DAR, Danville Garden Club, Keep Vermilion County Beautiful, Douglas Discovery Garden, Quaker Oats Company and City of Danville.

Lane added the Danville Art League, with the help from some Peer Court youth, also planted several trees.

Also, two more trees will be planted on Saturday at the Douglas Discovery Garden during the Great American Cleanup.

Some local elementary schools have been matched with tree donors to assist in the tree planting and learn about the value of trees.

Danville Area Community College and Sunset Memorial Park also again conducted Arbor Day tree plantings at their facilities. Meade Park School also provided and planted a tree on school property.

Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.

Arbor Day originated in Nebraska City, Neb., in 1872. At that time, Nebraska was a stark, treeless plain. The new settlers from the east missed their trees from the forests back home. The settlers needed trees for windbreaks, fuel, building materials and shade.

One of the settlers was a man named J. Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife, Caroline, were nature lovers. They wasted no time planting trees and shrubs at their new homestead. Morton was a writer for Nebraska’s first newspaper. He quickly spread his enthusiasm for planting trees to his audience. He encouraged everyone to set aside one day a year to plant trees.

The Nebraska State Board of Agriculture declared April 10 Arbor Day. More than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. A few years later other states began to observe Arbor Day. Today Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states. In Illinois, it is always the last Friday in April.