April 3, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Deuth,-Dave-colorBy David W. Deuth, CFSP
President, Weerts Funeral Home

So the saying goes. But April also marks another historical event which continues to play a major part in the sustainability and renewability of our national ecosystem. It’s called Arbor Day.

As the West was being settled, a pioneer named J. Sterling Morton in 1854 found his way from Detroit to a territory known as Nebraska. Avid lovers of nature, Morton and his wife planted numerous trees, shrubs and flowers about their settlement. They understood the value of trees for windbreaks along the prairie, for shade from the sun, and, when the tree’s life cycle was complete, for building and fuel.

Shortly after Nebraska became a state in 1867, Morton spearheaded an effort to establish a tree-planting “holiday,” convincing other pioneer families of the numerous benefits from the large-scale planting of trees throughout their state. The first Arbor Day event took place on April 10, 1872, with an estimated one million trees being planted in one day throughout the newly-established state of Nebraska.

Today, although Arbor Day is recognized across the nation, the date on which it is commemorated varies according to climate. According to the official Arbor Day website, www.arborday.org, “…the most common date for the state observance is the last Friday in April, and several U.S. presidents have proclaimed a national Arbor Day on that date. But a number of other state Arbor Days are at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south, to May in the far north.”

Regardless of the date on which it is commemorated, Arbor Day is a great reminder to all of us of the importance of our environment…and some simple things we can do to take good care of it.

So I decided to become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation. With my membership, I will receive 10 tree seedlings. One tree will be planted here at the funeral home on April 29. A “memory tree” of sorts, this tree will commemorate the lives of each person our firm has served since our establishment in 1909. The other nine trees will be donated throughout our community. A small thing, perhaps…but, like Morton, I see it as an opportunity for doing the right thing for the right reasons.

Morton was quoted as saying, “Each generation takes the earth as trustees.” By example, he led his generation with a well-intentioned effort that succeeding generations continue to enjoy today as beneficiaries. Let us resolve to do the same. When we plant even one tree, we will take a meaningful step toward stewarding that trust. And perhaps that will make the earth an even better place for a future generation one day.

Remember Well.