NC Arbor Day
North Carolinians are proud of their trees and the centuries-long relationship they have had with the state's many varieties and expansive forests. In fact, the Tar Heel State earned its nickname from the large quantities of tar and pitch produced with its pine trees from the colonial era through the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Today, the Land of the Long Leaf Pine boasts the fourth highest total forest acreage in the United States, including four diverse national forests, and dozens of heavily wooded state parks and forests. With groups across the state championing the benefits of urban forests, and towns and cities committing more time and resources to education and conservation, North Carolina could become the greenest state in the union—literally.
All of these efforts and all of these trees—from our backyards on the Outer Banks to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in the Appalachian Mountains—are meant to be celebrated. While we find cause to appreciate and admire trees year-round, North Carolina Arbor Day is the day set aside each year to celebrate what North Carolinians do for trees, and what trees do for us.
In 1967 the North Carolina State Legislature ratified a bill stating in part:
WHEREAS, IT IS DESIRABLE THAT THE PLANTING OF SEEDLINGS AND FLOWERING SHRUBS BE ENCOURAGED TO PROMOTE THE BEAUTIFICATION AND CONSERVATION OF THE VAST AND VARIED RESOURCES OF NORTH CAROLINA, AND WHEREAS THE DESIGNATION OF A PARTICULAR DAY EACH YEAR AS ARBOR DAY WOULD ENCOURAGE AND DRAW ATTENTION TO A CONCERTED EFFORT BY NORTH CAROLINIANS TO BEAUTIFY AND CONSERVE THE STATE'S RESOURCES BY PLANTING YOUNG TREES AND SHRUBS.
In North Carolina, Arbor Day is celebrated on the first Friday following the 15th of March. It is an ideal time for North Carolinians to dig in, plant trees, and get involved in making our communities greener, improving the environment and public health.NC Arbor Day should be recognized by every county in the Tar Heel State. To celebrate can cost nothing yet produce much. Recognizing our oldest and hardest working residents—our trees—breeds a sense of pride in who and where we are. Trees are and have always been a good investment. They not only clean our air, provide shade, and reduce crime; among other things, they increase property values.
In the words of N. H. Egleton in his 1893 edition of Arbor Day Leaves: "Keep in mind that Arbor Day was originally designed not as a mere festival or holiday, a pleasant occasion for children or adults, but to encourage the planting of trees for a serious purpose—the lasting benefit of the country in all its interest."