Celebrating Arbor Day with those Passionate about Trees

For many of us, Arbor Day comes and goes with little fanfare.

This nationally recognized holiday rarely garners the attention it deserves– with much of society often unable to identify the actual month of it’s official celebration.

But for the Swingle team, this is truly a day for celebrating – with the last Friday of April at the forefront of our business since 1947.

When John Swingle founded Swingle Tree Surgery Company, he would prune the trees while his wife stacked the branches and limbs in the back of their Jeep. His extensive knowledge of arboriculture, dedication to the environment and love of nature was not only a business – it was a passion.

Julius Sterling Morton had a similar ideology – writing and speaking about environmental stewardships and how it unified our lives. Much like John Swingle, Morton and his wife were lovers of nature – filling the acreage around their Nebraska home with lush trees, shrubs and flowers of numerous varieties.

He once remarked, “Each generation takes the earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.”

He ultimately believed that every individual in American society should set aside at least one day to plant a tree.

Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday back in January 1872 in front of the State Board of Agriculture. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton’s birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance (eventually moving to the last Friday in April when it became a national holiday).

Perhaps one of his greatest efforts was to educate our youth on the importance of trees in our lives and our world.

In science class he encouraged the study of ecosystems of one particular tree; in social studies one could learn about the trees of different cultures; in math class students could understand how to measure a tree’s height, crown and overall diameter; in english he hoped students would write letters to community tree planters thanking them for their efforts.

And just how important are trees in our lives?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture states that one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.

The National Wildlife Federation states that there are about 60–200 million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year and saving $4 billion in energy costs.

Whether you need to choose a variety of trees and shrubs for a major landscape renovation or a single tree to shade your home and lawn, remember Julius Sterling Morton and John Swingle.

Each were pioneers during their time, with a true understanding of the importance of celebrating one day just to plant a tree.

Information credited to the Arbor Day Foundation website.