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Agriculture Press Release

January 18, 2000

Arbor Day in Florida Will Be Observed on January 21

TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced that Arbor Day will be observed in Florida on Friday, January 21. Crawford will observe the day by helping the Florida Division of the Society of American Foresters plant a 14-foot live oak tree on the State Capitol grounds in recognition of 100 years of service by the organization.

"This is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the many benefits provided by trees," Crawford said. "From commercial forest land to urban landscaping, trees are a valuable resource for everyone."

The United States officially observes National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April. The Florida Legislature in 1945 designated the third Friday in January as the State Arbor Day, because that is the time of year when the climate is optimal for planting trees in Florida.

Arbor Day is celebrated around Florida in schools and by civic organizations with tree planting and other activities. For information about events in your area, or to plan an activity, contact your local Division of Forestry office, listed under the "Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services" in the government section of the telephone directory.

The idea for Arbor Day originated in Nebraska in the 1800s. Among the settlers moving into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton of Detroit. As editor of Nebraskas first newspaper, and later as a government official, Morton advocated tree planting by individuals and civic organizations. He first proposed the establishment of a tree-planting "Arbor Day" holiday in 1872 at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture.

The first Arbor Day was observed in 1872, and prizes were offered to counties and individuals for properly planting the most trees on that day. It was estimated that more than a million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

During the 1870s, other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day, and the concept has since spread to many countries around the world.


What Trees Mean To Florida:

  • One mature tree in one growing season will provide an amount of oxygen equivalent to that required by one adult for one year.
  • Trees provide wildlife habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles.
  • The hairy leaf surfaces of trees trap and filter out ash, dust and pollen particles carried in the air.
  • Trees provide lumber, paper, mulch, oils, gums and other forest products, adding more than $8.6 billion annually to Floridas economy.
  • Trees lessen the impact of raindrops on the soil surface and help keep sediment from washing into rivers and streams.
  • Trees beautify urban and community areas, such as parks, streets and school yards.
  • The hair-like root fibers of trees help filter groundwater, trapping nutrients and pollutants that could contaminate it.

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For more information:

Mike Humphrey

(850) 414-8602


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