Arbor week – A Brief History of Arbor Day
Arbor Day originated in 1872 in the United States territory of Nebraska. Mr. J Stirling Morton, a newcomer to the treeless plains of Nebraska, was a keen proponent of the beauty and benefit of trees. He persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees and through his passion as editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper, encouraged participation in the event by publishing articles on the value of trees for soil protection, fruit, shading and building. Mr. Morton’s home known as Arbor Lodge, was a testament to his love for trees and so inspired the name of the holiday. Within two decades Arbor Day was celebrated in every US state and territory and eventually spread around the world.
In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognised the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this in South Africa inspired the national government in 1999 to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week. From 1-7 September every year, schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in community ‘greening’ events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and propose a green future for South Africa
Country Club and Arbor Week – the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is today….
In order to promote greening, especially the planting of indigenous trees, the concept of the tree of the year was born some years ago. Previously there were two selected trees of the year comprising a rare and a common species. This year the trees of the year are the Common wild fig and the Common bush-cherry. We have also chosen several species easily recognisable on the course for the Arbor week promotion. A further six less common species have also been included for interest. Many of the trees selected are well suited for home gardens.
In conjunction with the Golf Committee and Golf Data the Environment Committee has established which holes on the Woodmead and the Rocklands courses require trees. With the extensive removal of the Gum trees this year the planting program continues to be important and, as we are celebrating our 110 year anniversary, this is a special opportunity for members to assist with the planting program. Photographs and information on each tree has been set up with a map of the two courses and the holes the trees are to be allocated to. From this the members can then select a tree or trees in support of the Arbor Week promotion, sign for it and this will be captured on their account.
A tree planting demonstration for the Arbor week celebrations is planned where an already dug hole will be prepared correctly and the actual planting of the tree shown.
The Environment Committee would like to make National Arbor Week this year a perfect and an opportune time to call on the Country Club members to support our initiative to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environment management.
SA 187 Paperbark thorn – Vachellia sieberiana
In the Arbor Day message of 1907, Theodore Roosevelt said:
“It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the nation’s need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted”.
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