Arbor Day (from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. Today, many countries observe such a holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season of each country. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1872 in Nebraska, and it is estimated that citizens across the state planted over 1 million trees.
This year, it was celebrated on the 26th of April and Northeastern University joined in on the celebration. As the Boston campus nears recognition as an arboretum, it hosted the first Arbor Day celebration to appreciate the importance of the 147 different species of trees that grow on campus.
To celebrate the day, the facilities department gave away seedlings for people to plant. The giveaway took place in the Library Quad, from 10 a.m. to noon. Six species were available: Colorado Blue Spruce, Eastern Redbud, Bur Oak, Red Maple, Swamp White Oak, and Sugar Maple.
“Our trees on campus help shade our buildings and prevent solar heat gain,” says Maria Cimilluca, who is the vice president for facilities.
“They convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and help with storm-water management by filtering rain water back into the ground.”
Chuck Doughty, who oversees landscaping for the Boston campus lead a tour of the trees around campus at noon, culminating in the ceremonial planting of a yellow magnolia tree outside Kariotis Hall. He picked it for its bright yellow blooms, which should arrive right around Arbor Day each year.
In addition to their more functional aspects, the trees, which number more than 1,400, also transform the urban campus into a welcoming oasis.
Hopefully, Northeastern’s initiative would inspire its students, faculty and other institutions to plant more trees and make the world a cleaner and safer place to live in.