Arbor Day

History of Arbor Day

Arbor Day was founded in 1872, in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton who had recently moved to Nebraska from Michigan and missed the trees and forests of his home state. He quickly began planting trees on his own property and as editor of Nebraska's first newspaper spread his enthusiasm of trees to his audience. The Nebraska State Board of Agriculture accepted a resolution by Morton "to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit." As a result, more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day. Today, national Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.

Arbor Day in Wyoming

In 1888, before Wyoming was even a state, the territorial legislature passed the Arbor Day Law and on April 27 Arbor Day was celebrated in Cheyenne and across the territory. Nowadays, Wyoming State Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Monday in April. Here are a couple of videos commemorating events from past years. Click here to view the 2021 event (133rd - time-lapse) or click here to view the 2013 ceremony (125th - Joe Meyer memorial). However, cities and towns across the state choose their own dates to celebrate locally. Many communities choose to plant trees while others provide free trees to residents and still others plan educational events to promote the benefits of trees. However your community celebrates Arbor Day, get involved and become a tree advocate!

Arbor Day Poster Contest

In conjunction with Arbor Day, Wyoming Project Learning Tree and Wyoming State Forestry Division sponsor a competitive poster contest each year for 4th and 5th grade students. The state winner is invited to Cheyenne for the State Arbor Day celebration where they receive several awards including a plaque and framed copy of their poster. Each year there is a poster theme and associated curriculum available to teachers for download. To learn more about the poster contest and download this year's curriculum, go to Wyoming Project Learning Tree's website here.

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Important information about Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA and Tree Line USA!

Greetings to our state urban and community forestry partners!

Thank you for the emails and calls recently keeping us updated on what is going on in your state regarding COVID-19. We realize there are questions regarding the 2019 applications and even concerns about meeting requirements for the 2020 application year. Our first concern is the health and safety of our team, partners, and all of those engaged with these community forestry programs.

  • The team continues to busily approve applications and ensure that recognition materials are being distributed in a timely manner. As we monitor the COVID-19 situation, there may be scenarios where the team is working remotely. These plans are being put into place but rest assured, the majority of our work, and communication with all of you, can continue remotely. Right now everything is proceeding as planned with the fulfillment of the recognition materials to the states. However, this is an area that could be impacted with a closure of our office or delays in shipping. We are working hard to avoid these delays and will keep you informed if we foresee a slowdown in the process.

    • We have heard that some states may also be forced to work remotely. Please keep us updated if your offices will not be open to accept these shipments and we will work with you to hold shipments until it is suitable for your office.

  • Several communities have begun to express concerns that as 2020 Arbor Day celebrations are postponed or cancelled, that they will not be able to meet Standard 4: Arbor Day proclamation/celebration. This standard does not need to be met only on an official Arbor Day date. Communities do have the entire year to meet this standard which could even be a tree planting event during the Fall. We will be flexible with the communities as we realize we are all dealing with this unique circumstance and it truly is impacting everyone.

Our team will continue to monitor the situation here and keep you updated of any changes. We appreciate all of your hard work and value our partnership with each state agency. Please keep communicating with any of the team members listed below with updates on the situation in your state.

Stay well-

Michelle Saulnier (

Pete Smith (

Vicki Erwin (