So you’ve heard of Arbor Day, and now would like to know what it is, when it is, why it exists and how you can celebrate it?
You’ve come to the right place. We’ve collected everything you need to know in our ultimate Arbor Day guide.
Here are some quick links for easier navigation:
Note: Some of the details in this article, such as the history of Arbor Day, are focused on the US National Arbor Day. However, we’ve also enlisted Arbor Day dates from across the globe.
And all the below-listed Arbor Day activities can of course be turned into practice wherever on this beautiful planet you are.
What is Arbor Day?
Before discussing when, where and how to celebrate Arbor Day, let’s first clarify what Arbor Day is.
It’s an excellent question. “Arbor” is the Latin word for “tree”. Hence “Arbor Day” literally means “Tree Day”.
One could answer “What is Arbor Day?” as simply as “A day to celebrate trees”. Or one could go into a lot more detail.
We don’t want to bore you with a lengthy philosophical monologue about the importance of trees (actually – our founder Chris would love to do exactly just that!), so let’s just say: Arbor Day is the perfect opportunity to openly express the tree hugger in you.
Because trees are awesome!
A lot of people go out and physically plant a tree on Arbor Day. However, should for any reason this not be your thing, below are a dozen further inspiring ideas for cool Arbor Day activities (both for outside and at home).
Now you know what Arbor Day is. But do you also know when it is?
When is Arbor Day 2021?
The US National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. So in 2021, Arbor Day is on April 30.
In 2020 it was on April 24.
Fun Question for You: When is Arbor Day 2030?
Since we always do become a bit nerdy when talking about trees, here are all Arbor Day Dates for the rest of this decade.
Arbor Day 2022: April 29
Arbor Day 2023: April 28
Arbor Day 2024: April 26
Arbor Day 2025: April 25
Arbor Day 2026: April 24
Arbor Day 2027: April 30
Arbor Day 2028: April 28
Arbor Day 2029: April 27
See a pattern here? Then tell us: When do you think is Arbor Day 2030?
No peaking. Write your answer in the comments below before consulting any type of calendar. We’ll wait.
Then, when you do consult your calendar, mark all the above Arbor Day dates in it, and save the link to this article with each of them.
After all, this decade marks The Twentrees. Some of the smartest scientists on Earth say it’s our last opportunity to save our planet. Let’s make the most of it.
When is Arbor Day 2021 outside of the US? Tree Love Across the Globe
The date of Arbor Day across the globe varies from country to country. Some countries even celebrate entire Arbor Weeks!
Here’s a rough overview of when Arbor Day is celebrated outside of the US. Let us know in the comments below if we forgot to mention your country, and we’ll happily add it!
Australians celebrate Arbor Day on June 20.
However, since Aussies truly understand the importance of trees (ever been to the Outback?!), in addition to Arbor Day they also celebrate National Tree Day (last Sunday in July) as well National Schools Tree Day (last Friday in July).
And hey, as if that wasn’t enough, the Australian state of Victoria even goes for an entire Arbor Week! Let’s reforest that red continent, mate!
Let’s plant a tree, ey?
Canadians celebrate their National Forest Week during the last full week of September. In 2021, that’s September 20 – 26.
The Wednesday of that week is national Arbor Day (also called Maple Leaf Day in Canada – any ideas why?).
Again, there are a few states that love trees so much they need some extra.
Ontario celebrates Arbor Week from the last Friday in April to the first Sunday in May.
Prince Edward Island observes Arbor Day on the third Friday in May during Arbor Week.
And Calgary parties with the trees on the first Thursday in May.
Germans love trees so much that they even gave Arbor Day a German name – and, surprisingly, one that doesn’t even sound like a verse from a Rammstein song.
Did you know that the German word for “ambulance” is “Krankenwagen”, and a “butterfly” is a “Schmetterling”?
After that little language lesson, you’ll be pleased to hear that “Arbor Day” is called “Tag des Baumes” in German. No “r”, no “ch”, nothing that makes you sound like you’d be insulting someone. Isn’t that sweet?
Anyway, to answer your actual question: In Germany, Arbor Day is on April 25. Yes, every year. (The above quiz wouldn’t be much fun in Germany…)
In the UK, National Tree Week is “usually towards the end of November”.
Can you imagine how challenging conversations between British and German politicians must be? Haha.
In 2021, Tree Week in the UK is from Saturday, November 27, until Sunday, December 5.
When is the Global Arbor Day?
National Arbor Days make perfect sense, since climatical conditions strongly vary from country to country.
But wouldn’t it be awesome to have one massive global Arbor Day in addition to all the National Arbor Days? After all, this is about celebrating trees and reforesting our planet – and mother nature knows no boundaries, does she?
Despite being a Germany company, we’d vouch for the US National Arbor Day to become the global Arbor Day. After all, it is the best-recorded Arbor Day. (But no, it’s not the oldest – more on that in our Arbor Day Fun Facts below.)
Arbor Day History
The US Arbor Day was born in the brain of Julius Sterling Morton (pictured below). It was first celebrated on April 10 in 1872.
“Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.”
–J. Sterling Morton.
Rumors go that on this day alone roughly 1 million trees were planted! Now how is that for a first-time event?
The event caught on, and within 20 years Arbor Day was celebrated in every US state (bar Delaware – they joined later). The date was moved to April 22 – Morton’s birthday.
A slightly less-known guy called Birdsey Northrop (pictured above) then dedicated his life to spreading the idea of Arbor Day worldwide.
Amongst others, he visited Canada, Europe, as well as Japan and Australia! What a dedication to spread some tree love.
President Nixon finally declared in 1970 that the last Friday in April shall be Arbor Day.
But enough of the Arbor Day history lesson. Here are some fun facts as well as 14 activities for Arbor Day.
3 Fun Facts about Arbor Day
So much for all the stats and numbers. But since at Click A Tree we make sustainability not just simple, but also fun, here are 3 fun facts for Arbor Day.
1. The world’s oldest Arbor Day
The world’s oldest Arbor Day is not, as many may think, the US American one.
Despite having started back in 1872 already, and hence being almost 150 years old, the oldest ever recorded Arbor Day took place in Mondoñedo in Spain – back in 1594 already, making the US Arbor Day look like a pimply teenager.
2. The world’s oldest tree
Talking about age: According to the Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research, the oldest still living, non-clonal tree is Methusaleh with the proud age of 4,852 years!
It’s a Great Basin bristlecone pine over in California.
But it only wears the crown because some dude called Donald Rusk Currey cut down the 50 years’ older Prometheus back in 1964. That chap killed close to 5,000 years of history! What does one say to that?
3. Names for Arbor Day across the globe
“Arbor Day” is quite descriptive. Other countries got a little more emotional, so you could e.g. celebrate “Tree Loving Week” in Korea, “The Nation Festival of Tree Planting” in India, and “The Greening Week” in Japan.
Like this section? Here are lots further stunning and intreeguing tree facts you didn’t know before.
Activities for Arbor Day
Now that you know all about Arbor Day – are you ready to celebrate it?
The most common Arbor Day activity would of course be to go out and plant a tree.
But should for any reason that not be your cup of tea or not be possible to whichever circumstances, we have enlisted another dozen Arbor Day activities for you – both for in- and outside.
9 Fun Ways to celebrate Arbor Day at home
Whether it is due to the Coronavirus, bad weather or any other reason that you have to celebrate Arbor Day at home, here are the 9 coolest Arbor Day activities that don’t require you to wear pants.
1. Find your favorite tree quote.
With 39 inspiring tree quotes to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to determine one single favorite.
Nonetheless we challenge you to find your one favorite tree quote – then post it in the comments below.
2. Learn 3 new epic facts about trees.
There are loads of things we can learn from trees. And at least as many we can learn about trees.
Learn some new tree facts, and share them with everyone.
Then make sure to remember them until you get the opportunity to boast with your newly-gained knowledge.
3. Plant a tree. If you like, dedicate it to someone.
All good things come in tree. So plant a tree for Arbor Day and dedicate it to someone you really, really like.
4. Change your laptop / phone background for an awesome tree image.
Remind yourself of the beauty (and the importance!) of trees every day by changing your phone or laptop background image to a tree image.
Either snap one yourself, or get inspired in our tree image gallery.
5. Read your favorite green read
What better way to celebrate Arbor Day than to immerse yourself in a fascinating book about trees?
We have asked our community and compiled the best green reads for you.
6. Shop with one of these partners
If you feel like staying home and shopping today, go right ahead. There are lots of companies that plant trees when you purchase something with them.
To begin with, we have enlisted these 29 brands that plant trees for every purchase.
7. Stare out your window and actively appreciate all the trees you can see.
Can you tell which species of tree they are?
If not: Search the internet to identify at least one tree species you didn’t know before. Then comment below which one it was.
8. Start a tree-drawing contest with your friends.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Who can draw the coolest / most colorful / funniest tree?
Feel free to share the results on Instagram with us!
9. Netflix & Chill
Take a virtual walk through your nearest arboretum or watch one of the mind-blowing tree documentaries you can find online.
Here’s our pick.
5 Arbor Day Activities for outside
If you’re in the mood to go outside, even better. Most people would go out and plant a tree, but there are of course other Arbor Day activities you can do.
1. Get a tree tattoo
If you truly love trees, there’s no day better than today to get a stunning tree tattoo.
For your inspiration, we have already asked our global community to share their favorite tree tattoos and their meaning with us.
2. Plant a tree yourself
As so many people do, you too have the opportunity to plant a tree this Arbor Day.
Should you have sufficient space in your own yard, awesome! Go right ahead, call a local tree nursery and ask for advice which tree species works best.
If you don’t have enough space in your backyard, contact your local environmental champions to enquire about Arbor Day community events. Join in – it’s good fun!
And, should for any reason there not be any event near you, feel free to organize your own. With the help of a few people it’s easier than you think.
3. Dance around a tree, singing strange tree songs (best enjoyed with friends)
Find a tree with sufficient space around it, then start a wild tree-trance-dance-session.
Make up some lyrics to worship the tree. Express your love for nature openly and uncensored.
Oh, and: Should anyone inquire what you’re doing (especially in case the inquirers wear a uniform): There’s no need to mention us. You surely deserve all the credits for your incredible performance, so best tell them that you came up with this wonderful idea, and kindly ask them to join in.
4. Hug a tree. Take a pic. Post it on Instagram and tag us.
Insta definitely needs more tree images.
Tag @clickatree. Optionally, add the #arborday and #twentrees.
5. Organize a tree-sure hunt
How about some geocaching action for Arbor Day? Or a good old-fashioned tree-sure hunt, like without ipads and smartphones?
Anything is possible with a little creativity.
Did we miss any cool activity for Arbor Day? Post it in the comments below!
(Free) Trees for Arbor Day
If you opt to plant a tree for Arbor Day, you may wonder how to go about it – and where to get that tree from.
In the past, there always were rumors that you can get free trees for Arbor Day from the government.
Unfortunately, to our knowledge, no such free-tree-scheme exists, neither on Arbor Day nor on any other day of the year. (Should you know of any, share your knowledge.)
To plant your Arbor Day tree nonetheless, here are 3 options:
1. Free Arbor Day Tree
Take a stroll in the woods and collect some tree seeds. These trees already grow in your area; hence the conditions seem to be okay.
2. Support local economy
Contact a local tree nursery. They also know best about which tree to plant in your region – and how to nurse it into a big healthy tree.
3. A Global Tree for Arbor Day
Plant your Arbor Day tree right here, right now. What’s holding you back? Planting a global tree supports 16 of the 17 UN Goals for Sustainable Development. Now that’s some impact!
Pro Tip: The beauty is, that this is not an either-or-question. You can follow all 3 suggestions above and plant multiple trees for Arbor Day. Mother Nature says, “Thank you!”
Free Tree Deals & Arbor Day Coupon Codes
If neither of the above options to plant your Arbor Day tree suits you, we have another ace up our sleeves.
Lucky for you, there are dozens of nature-loving companies that plant a tree for every purchase you make. Go visit their websites and see if they offer what you’re looking for. Every purchase plants at least one tree.
Better yet, most of them offer fantastic coupon codes as part of our Arbor Day Countdown. (That’s like an advent calendar but counting down to Arbor Day.)
Take a look at our Countdown Calendar and see whether your favorite brand plants trees for each purchase, too.
If all you’re after are free trees, visit our free trees page. It showcases various options how to plant trees for free.
Over to you
What will your Arbor Day look like? What will you do? Have you celebrated Arbor Day in the past? Any cool stories, hacks or tips you’d like to share?
Please drop a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!