Loose Ends: A tree grows in Meeker

Someone should declare a do-over for the tree planting part of the Arbor Day celebration. While it was officially celebrated a week or so ago across the state, there has been no word about how the high-country communities still digging out from the long winter actually commemorated it. Officially, the holiday is traditionally the final Friday of April in Colorado, while across the country each state decides the date according to their climate. As the traditional holiday dictates individual’s planting one or two trees, the late arrival of spring may find schoolchildren planting trees as a part of their end of the year field days.
The tradition dates back to the Nebraska Territory, when J. Sterling Morton, who emigrated from Detroit, Mich., advocated massive tree plantings and encouraged civic organizations to join in the effort. The first Arbor Day was proclaimed 135 years ago on April 10, 1874. During the 1870s other states passed legislation to recognize Arbor Day. By 1885, Nebraska declared Arbor Day a legal holiday.
Since those early days, children all over the country have taken part in activities honoring the holiday. It seems to be the only non-commercial holiday still celebrated. While no gifts or special greeting cards are exchanged, Arbor Day remains a tradition that some children remember fondly. They are proud of their efforts to maintain the growth of their own little tree and as they progress through elementary school will point out trees they were sure had been planted in honor of the holiday.
There is something about being part of the life of a tree that breeds optimism. It is a way of investing in the future, as many families mark the growth of the little trees with their families. Ask a homeowner about the trees they have planted in their own yard and one will often get a story about the changes in a family over time. Happy belated Arbor Day!