Celebrate Arbor Day at Berkeley

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Today is Arbor Day! The holiday is a celebration of trees and tree-hugging enthusiasts, so we at the Clog wrote a special tribute to the eco-minded at Berkeley.

“But Clog,” you ask us, “I really don’t know a lot about Arbor Day. How can I celebrate Arbor Day here at Berkeley? Can you provide a short but thorough list to speed things up?”


Why Arbor Day is not Earth Day

The first Arbor Day was celebrated as a city planting movement in 1872 for the then treeless Nebraska City. Compared to Earth Day, which was born after a 1969 San Francisco UNESCO conference, Arbor Day’s historical origins are born from a more localized time.

Arbor means “tree” in Latin. The goal is that every person plants at least one tree by the end of the day. To celebrate Arbor Day, everyone needs a shovel, a small sapling and plenty of energy. Although every state celebrates the day in its own way, only Nebraska made Arbor Day a civic holiday.

Earth Day is a celebration of environmentalism and environmental protection. Unlike the down-in-the-dirt Arbor Day, Earth Day typically is celebrated in large fairs and conventions. Moreover, Earth Day is overseen by the Earth Day Network, an international mobilizing organization.

On Earth Day, phrases like “carbon-neutral” and “fossil fuels” are tossed around. On Arbor Day,  terms like “alkaline soil” and “pruning” spring up.

We at the Clog like to think of Earth Day as the “preach” and Arbor Day as the “practice.”

Make Berkeley a Tree City

In 2010, Berkeley was named an official member of Tree City USA. Last year, Berkeley fell off the list. To up the attitude, the Clog gathered some tree-planting opportunities.

The University of California Botanical Garden offers plenty of tree-planting opportunities with its extensive volunteer program. Volunteers are asked to clean seeds, prepare specimens for research and propagate needy plants. Rewards come for those who celebrate Arbor Day all weekend. Volunteers who put in 30 hours receive a nifty Garden Badge (and a 20-percent discount at the garden store).

Just want to admire trees instead? Check out this interactive map of historic trees on Cal’s campus.

Have a happy tree-filled Arbor Day!

Contact Alex Mabanta at [email protected]