The earliest recorded community-wide tree planting festival was held in 1594 in Mondoñedo, Spain. Another Spanish village, Villanueva de la Sierra, held the first modern Arbor Day in 1805. That tree planting initiative was sown by a local priest, don Juan Abern Samtrés, partly in answer to the “ravages” Napoleon’s battlefield ambitions inflicted on the European countryside.
Today we see trees obliterated by the ambitions of this century’s autocrats: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his genocidal war crimes in Ukraine, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro’ and his “crimes against humanity” for Amazon deforestation. We daily see whole species of trees falling to the ravages of the Climate Crises. We see trees clearcut still for cattle ranches and commercial development and… we take a breath and a hike and tell ourselves and our children: Don’t lose hope.
Because TODAY we also see people, in countries all over the world, setting aside a secular holiday especially dedicated to planting and revering trees. The exact date varies from country to country, based on climate and planting seasons, but Arbor Day generally falls around the end of April.
This April, in the year of 2022, happens to mark both the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day in America and the 50th Anniversary of the Creation of the American Arbor Day Foundation.
The above link explores Arbor Day in general and the Foundation’s work in particular. There’s also information about the Foundation’s “Let’s Plant 50 Million Trees” mission. Opportunities to support, donate and plant are as close as your finger tips – whether you aim to take part as an individual, a family, a school or scout group or corporation.
Poetry offers another way to connect people to what’s important and sometimes it’s the best language to help us just BE with trees. Here then are two poems shared with Cry Wild by kind permission and generous spirits.