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Letter: A good idea

Arbor Day is Saturday, April 26, and how to advance a good idea ...

Write a Book: In 1864, Vermonter George Perkins Marsh published “Man and Nature,” warning that “the earth is fast becoming an unfit home for its noblest inhabitant” noting irresponsible land practices, especially trees cut for expanding railroads.

Edit A Newspaper: In 1872, J. Sterling Morton, prominent Nebraska City editor proposed to the State Board of Agriculture a tree planting holiday with prizes for struggling farmers’ orchards saying “the trees planted by the poor man grow just as grandly and beautifully as those planted by the opulent.”

Create An Organization: the 1875 founding of the American Forestry Association targeted the railroads’ misuse of forests. The 1882 first American Forestry Congress held in Cincinnati featured an Arbor Day tree planting. Morton addressed the Congress with “Each generation takes the earth as trustees … We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.”

Serve Government: Secretary of Agriculture, Morton’s “best land use practices” for both communities and farms helped shape today’s conservation movement.

MARCIA STARKEY

Greenfield

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