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Little Rock officials celebrate Arbor Day

  • Published
A single green ash tree was planted in the ground adjacent to the child development center consummating Little Rock Air Force Base's 15th Annual Arbor Day ceremony Dec. 1 here. 

The base earned its Tree City USA designation in 1993, and since that time, the base has maintained written policy governing the planting and care of urban trees on base.

"Today we're starting a community of trees here at the development center by planting one green ash that, although it's small today just like the children here at the school, they will be growing up and becoming part of a larger community," said Pete Rausch, a certified arborist from Tree Health Care.
"We take our environment and conservation seriously at Little Rock AFB," said Brig. Gen. Rowayne A. Schatz Jr., 19th Airlift Wing commander. "We're very proud of the environmental program we have. We're also proud of the great relationship we have with the Arkansas State Forestry Commission, helping to manage more than 16,000 acres of pristine land we have out here." 

The idea for Arbor Day originally came from J. Sterling Morton, a pioneer to Nebraska from Detroit who soon after became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper. Mr. Morton advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, but he also encouraged civic organizations and groups of every kind to join in. Next, he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees. On Jan. 4, 1872, Morton first proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day" at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. 

In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance. Arbor Day has now spread beyond the United States and is observed in many countries of the world. 

Little Rock AFB observes Arbor Day in the fall because it allows the trees more time to stabilize from the transplanting and to grow roots before the heat of summer sets in. 

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