The Eldorado Garden Study Club celebrated Arbor Day April 25 by donating a flowering crabapple tree to Southeastern Illinois College.
Dr. Mary Jo Oldham Morgan, Garden Club Arbor Day Chair, opened the event by thanking Southeastern for cooperating with the club once again in the tree-planting effort.
“We’re proud of the grove of trees we have established here,” said Oldham Morgan. In recent past years, we have planted maple trees, but this year, we are planting a flowering crabapple tree to replace one that was struggling here on campus.
The club’s Arbor Day Committee consists of Oldham Morgan, Nina Brown, Marilyn Ellis, Donna Hearn, Dr. Dana Keating, and Maxine Schimp.
Brown spoke on one of founder J. Sterling Morton quotes about Arbor Day and noted the similarity in goals and aims of garden study clubs everywhere, “…to be good stewards of what we’ve been given … to make things more beautiful, to make them better and to make us all appreciate what we have and to take good care of it.”
Ellis presented a message from Arbor Day Foundation President, Dan Lambe. “This year marks the 147th anniversary of Arbor Day, America’s oldest environmental holiday. Arbor Day is a unique holiday because it focuses on the future, not on the past. And with all the challenges facing the future of our planet today, planting trees has never been more important… When you plant a tree, you single-handedly help improve the quality of life in your entire community.”
Keating provided some historical background and odd facts on the event. “The European colonists who came to America instituted massive deforestation from the start. The east coast easily competed with the enormous redwoods of the Pacific seaboard at that time. In fact, when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, ‘it’s said that the squirrels could travel from tree to tree from the Northeast to the Mississippi River without ever having to touch the ground.’” (Quoted from Chris Roddick, chief arborist at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York to LiveScience in 2009.)
Keating also discussed the first Arbor Day and the planting of one million trees in Nebraska in 1872. The event became a legal holiday in 1885, and was moved to April 22 (Morton’s birthday). Today, the holiday tradition continues on the last Friday in April each year. It is celebrated by every US state and 36 countries worldwide.
She noted that the Arbor Day Foundation launched the “Time for Trees” initiative last month with two main goals they hope to reach by 2022 (the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day): 1) Plant 100 million trees in forests and communities around the globe, and 2) Inspire 5 million tree planters to help carry the mission forward.
The Eldorado Garden Study Club was organized in 1946. Currently it has 25 members and is part of the Central Region of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. and the District VII Region of The Garden Clubs of Illinois. Throughout the years, the club has worked on various projects which encourage the love of gardening and floral design and its members work to encourage environmental responsibility in themselves, their neighbors and in their community. The club has been donating trees to SIC for about the past 13 years in honor of Arbor Day to establish a grove for the campus.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. A million members, donors, and partners support its programs to make the world greener and healthier. For more information, visit www.arborday.org.