Arbor Day is a day set aside for schools, civic clubs, and other organizations, as well as individuals, to reflect on the importance of trees in our state and across our nation. Georgia Arbor Day is in February because it is the ideal time to plant trees in our state.

The holiday was initiated by Julius Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872. Morton was a pioneer who traveled from Detroit to Nebraska in 1854. There were no trees in sight, so Morton set out to plant millions of trees. These served as windbreaks, prevented soil erosion and provided habitat, shade and fuel, among many other things. Mr. Morton convinced many groups to join in.

How Georgia Celebrates Arbor Day

Arbor Day is a day set aside to plant, celebrate and recognize trees for the benefits they provide. Georgia celebrates Arbor Day with:

  • An official state Arbor Day proclamation. This ceremony takes place each year at the capitol. The proclamation is made by Georgia’s Governor, State Forester, and a select group of forestry partners.
  • A statewide Arbor Day event held by The Georgia Tree Council. The event includes a an educational program about trees, individual recognition for tree board members, and a luncheon. There are typically 100 attendees and the event has a registration fee.
  • Other events marking Arbor Day in Georgia are also held around the state in February.

Arbor Day Event Ideas

Arbor Day can be celebrated in many ways, and can be as large or small as you want to make it. Your Arbor Day program can range from a neighborhood gathering for planting trees in a park to a school-wide event or a week-long regional festival with activities for thousands of people.

  • Hold a tree planting ceremony at City Hall. Invite State Legislators, key officials, partners and local citizens. Have a Flag presentation by scouts or veterans’ groups. Ask the Mayor to issue an Arbor Day Proclamation. Invite local school children to read poems about trees. Serve cookies and coffee. Take photos for publicity and post-promotions. Distribute tree seedlings.
  • If your community is a designated Tree City USA, hold a reception to honor this accomplishment. If not, work with your city or Georgia Forestry Commission forester to make your community a Tree City USA.
  • Honor the good stewards in your community. Choose people who have made a difference by advocating or accomplishing something environmentally significant within your community such as establishing a tree planting or recycling program, identifying or planting an arboretum, or raising funds and getting permission for an outdoor learning center. If possible, seek nominations from the community.
  • Give an award to an outstanding neighborhood garden, citizen group, or developer supporting “tree-friendly” values.
  • Schedule homeowner classes on tree pruning, tree selection, tree identification, and tree planting. Charge a small registration fee and use the money to purchase trees for the participants, or buy one tree to plant on public property in honor of those attending the classes.