J. Sterling Morton himself couldn't have come up with a better way to honor Arbor Day than to celebrate a budding arboretum.
The founder of the national tree celebration, Morton once said humans should "embellish the world with plant life, trees, flowers and foliage, as to make our earth homes approximate to those which the prophets, poets and seers of all ages have portrayed as the Home in Heaven."
Today, Carson City parks officials and members of the city's Shade Tree Council will dedicate the Mills Park Arboretum and will plant a maple tree in the arboretum's maple section in honor of National Arbor Day.
An arboretum is a place for the "exhibit and study of trees," said Scott Fahrenbruch, parks superintendent, and parks officials have so far planted between 40 and 50 trees that mark the beginning of the arboretum.
Groves throughout the park will host different types of trees from oaks and maples to various types of evergreens. Eventually, the arboretum trees will replace the old cottonwood trees that fill the park, many of which are reaching the end of their lives. Interpretive signs will one day be added to the arboretum to allow people to learn about the different types of trees.
Morton, a former newspaper editor, founded Arbor Day in 1872 by encouraging Nebraska residents to fill the treeless plains. Trees weren't just needed to provide shade and food; trees created windbreaks, provided fuel and building materials and their roots stabilized the soil. Around 1 million trees were planted the first Arbor Day and the tradition branched into a national event.
"I think planting trees nowadays is more important than ever to protect and enhance our environment," said Jean Bondiett, Shade Tree Council chairwoman. "One of the things people like about our city is our trees. Arbor Day is a celebration of the urban forest here in Carson City."
Carson City was named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the eighth year in a row, recognizing the capital's commitment to planting and caring for trees. Bondiett said the Carson City Kiwanis Club will receive the George Washington Ferris award for their efforts to plant trees along the banks of the Carson River. The award is given to those who promote awareness and caring of area trees. Tours will be given of the new arboretum after its dedication.
For information, call 887-2363 ext. 1003.
"To preserve beauty on the earth, beauty herself beseeches us to plant trees." J. Sterling Morton, Arbor Day founder
If you go:
What: National Arbor Day celebration and Mills Park Arboretum dedication
When: 5:30 p.m., today
Where: Mills Park, East William St.