Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Arbor Day - Hip Hip Hooray!

Today is Arbor Day in the U.S. and we are very excited as this is the day of the trees. For us, who are involved in tree planting operations and in efforts to reduce the number of trees cut down for printing books, every day is about trees and sustainable reading, but when everyone joins to celebrate and honor the trees, even for one day, it really feels great!

So what's Arbor day anyway? It is the nation's oldest environmental holiday, a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April (in the U.S., in other countries it is celebrated on different dates).

Many people, families, schools, communities and local organizations will celebrate the day in special events and in planting new trees, like RE-TREE WNY (Western New York), a group that was established to reforest the area following the heavy wet snows of October 2006 in Buffalo. RE-TREE WNY will plant today an oak tree in front of a West Side church in Buffalo. More information on events can be found on the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Many businesses and organizations are celebrating Arbor Day with special initiatives as well:

Washington Mutual announced yesterday that it will be making a donation to the The National Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree in a national forest every customer who chooses to receive their account statements online rather than being mailed a paper statement.

Doubletree Hotels stats an educational initiative - 10,000 students in more than 150 communities will take part in a month-long initiative to raise awareness about the importance of trees through Doubletree Hotels' Teaching Kids to CARE environmental education program. This spring initiative, created in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation is taking root in Nebraska, the home state where Arbor Day began. The Teaching Kids to CARE spring initiative will help educate 10,000 elementary school students across the U.S. and Canada during the months of April and May about the important role trees play in our everyday lives and the many benefits they provide.

MillionTreesNYC, a public-private partnership between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and New York Restoration Project to plant and care for one million new trees in New York City by 2017 announced today on Toyota as a new supporter in its mission to improve New York City's environment. Yahoo! News reports that Toyota has signed a three-year $1.4 million sponsorship with MillionTreesNYC that will support tree planting, public education and community outreach activities - all aimed at getting every New Yorker involved in tree planting and stewardship activities.

The Nature Conservancy launched the “Plant a Billion Trees Campaign” at to restore and plant one billion trees by 2015 in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on Earth. It is sponsored by few companies, including Sponsored Planet Green and Penguin classics. On the campaign’s website, visitors can learn more about the project, explore the Atlantic Forest through an interactive map highlighting the people, plants and animals of this spectacular region, and of course plant a tree by donating to the campaign – one dollar for a tree.

Toyota has also something for Facebook users - the company partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to create a Facebook application called Tree Planter. According to Environmental Leader, users can send gift trees to their Facebook friends in a cost of $1 and for every gift that is sent, the Arbor Day Foundation plants a tree in one of eleven forests. Toyota is supporting the effort by purchasing $50,000 worth of trees, so the first 50,000 users can send one tree to a friend for free.

And of course, you are welcome to check out our website or go to one of the bookstores we work with, and plant a tree for every book you buy.

Whatever you choose to do in this beautiful day, have fun and remember that trees deserve to appreciated and conserved not only today, but each and every day.

Happy Arbor Day,
Raz @ Eco-Libris

* Picture Courtesy of Sustainable Harvest international