SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Arbor comes from Latin and means tree. Arbor Day was started in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton who proposed a tree planting day.
On April 10, 1872 an estimated one million trees were planted across the state. During the 1870s other states started observing Arbor Day and the tradition began in schools in 1882. In 1885 Arbor Day became a legal holiday and was moved to April 22nd. In 1989 it was moved to the last Friday in April.
The City of Springfield celebrated Arbor Day with students from Bowles Elementary School joining Congressman Richard Neal, Mayor Sarno, Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreational Management Patrick Sullivan, City Forester Alex Sherman, Director of Governor Baker’s Western Massachusetts Office Jose Delgado.
The celebration held at Bowles Elementary School included a dogwood tree planted in memory of former teacher Lynn Ainsworth. Members of the teacher’s family were there for the celebration. Mayor Sarno also read and presented a proclamation declaring Friday, April 30, 2021 as Arbor Day in the City of Springfield.
Mayor Sarno stated, “This year marks the 36th Arbor Day observance in our Springfield, which, thanks to the leadership of Parks Director Patrick Sullivan and our City Forester Alex Sherman, we can celebrate with a tree planting. I want to acknowledge and thank our dedicated Forestry Division for maintaining these vital resources for our city. I am proud of our city’s commitment to tree planting, conservation and environmental stewardship and I look forward to the day when we can all come together again and celebrate our city’s rich natural resources.”
“I am thrilled to join the Arbor Day celebration at Bowels Elementary School today with Mayor Sarno and students,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “I have always invested in trees and tree planting campaigns like we are engaging in today because planting trees is a small feat that makes a big difference. When I was Mayor of Springfield, the city was designated as a ‘Tree City USA’ from the National Arbor Day Foundation and today we commemorate the 35th year of the city’s designation of that prestigious title. Year after year, I am glad to see this important tradition continue.”
Executive Director of PBRM Patrick Sullivan said, “I want to thank Mayor Sarno and Congressman Neal for their leadership in supporting our City’s green initiatives. Springfield is proud to be celebrating its 36th Arbor Day and 35 years as a Tree City USA. Planting a tree, in a public space or one’s yard, is an excellent way to remember a family member or a significant event.”
City Forester Alex Sherman stated, “The City of Springfield is fortunate to have many historic trees throughout it’s’ neighborhoods and parks. Arbor Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the legacy and tradition the City of Springfield has on our natural environment and consider the environmental legacy we will leave for the future. We know that this dogwood tree we plant today will be enjoyed by future generations of Springfield residents and students.”
Arbor Day is now observed in many other countries across the world. Even though we observe Arbor Day today some states observe it when the weather is better for planting trees.