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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about -- Arbor Day, first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood. Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday each April. And one celebrates by caring for trees and planting a few. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska, a state rich in prairie but poor in trees, until settlers began setting them out. The pioneers relied heavily on wood for shelter, fuel, furniture, even food and medicine, not to mention shade. The first Arbor Day celebration took place in 1872, and taking advantage of tax breaks, land grants, and the chance to socialize, settlers planted one million trees that day. Trees are no less cherished today. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates the value of a 50-year-old tree at more than $200,000. Among the contributions it provides are oxygen, water, shade, energy conservation, prevention of soil erosion, and shelter for wildlife. It's no surprise, then, that many communities do not tolerate the crime of arborcide. In tree-scarce New York City, for example, you can be fined up to $15,000 and spend a year in jail for cutting a tree without a permit. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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