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Earth Day and Arbor Day: A Quick History

In the wild, wild West, the Nebraska Territory was hot, windy and wide. One of the pioneers, J. Sterling Morton (pictured here), immediately began planting trees, and advocated tree planting in the newspaper for which he was an editor. On April 10, 1872, the citizens of Nebraska planted about a million trees, celebrating the very first Arbor Day. Later, the date was officially changed to April 22, Mr. Morton's birthday.

Fast forward 98 years. Arbor Day 1970 was modified to reflect an overall concern for the preservation of earth's resources, and an awareness of consumption and industrial pollution. Twenty million Americans, many of them students, celebrated "Earth Day" and an environmental movement was born.

Earth Day #2, "Earthfest," was officially celebrated in 1990, on the Mall in Washington, D.C., with musicians, demonstrations and speakers on conservation, recycling, sustainability, and the interdependence of earth's many systems.

Either way you look at it, the Earth is still a great place to live, and going green, planting trees, and conserving our resources makes even more sense now than it did in 1872, 1970 or 1990!


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