Arbor Day is Friday, April 29, 2016 -- Every Year, Millions Of Trees Are Planted To Renew Idaho's Forests.

To celebrate Arbor Day, the Idaho Forest Products Commission is offering a FREE set of Tree-Shirts to a lucky classroom in Idaho! To enter the contest, submit the online form by April 6. Contact with any questions. Arbor Day is the last Friday in April.

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- Get your Arbor Day Seedling
- 2016 Arbor Day Student Photo Contest
- Send an Arbor Day E-Card
- Get Your 2015 Arbor Day T-Shirts  See the T-Shirt
- Learn more about the artist
- Order Arbor Day T-Shirts by Mail
- Govenor Butch Otter - Arbor Day Audio Message
- Govenor Butch Otter - Arbor Day Video Message


In Idaho, we celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday in April each year. Look to the Forest is our theme for Arbor Day this year. Trees are Idaho's great renewable resource that can be sustainable managed for the future. This Arbor Day, we hope you will look to Idaho's forests for all the things they contribute to our state and our way of life.

  Look to the Forest and Support Idaho's Working Forests
Working forests make good sense.
They're renewable.
They're sustainable.
They provide good jobs,
          quality products,
          funding for public schools,
          clean energy,
          recreation opportunities,
          carbon storage,
          wildlife habitat,
          and a healthy environment.
Best of all, they're in our own back yard.
Keep working forests working.

Look for the NEW Arbor Day Billboards throughout the state in April!

All of these people work in Idahoís forest industry. They plant trees. They grow trees. They harvest trees. They make wood and paper products from trees. They replant trees and do it all over again. To them every day is Arbor Day because their jobs, and the future of all forest businesses, depend on renewable trees. And because we replant after we harvest, the future for everyone is a little brighter.


Arbor Day is Friday, April 29, 2016<
CELEBRATE ARBOR DAY - and the miracle of Idaho's working forests!

The last Friday in April each year marks Arbor Day -- a special holiday to celebrate renewable, sustainable TREES. To celebrate Arbor Day this year, the Idaho Forest Products Commission is giving away 25,000 thousand one-year-old blue spruce seedlings at community events throughout the state and at Home Depot stores. Check if your community is hosting an event for Arbor Day. You can get your free seedling at any Home Depot store in Idaho, Spokane, Washington or Ontario, Oregon on Friday, April 29.

Questions about Arbor Day in Idaho?
Call 208/334-3292 or email

Arbor Day is a great time to
think about trees and
Idaho ís forests.

The Roots of Arbor Day

Arbor Day was the idea of J. Sterling Morton. In 1872, Morton helped start a new holiday in Nebraska dedicated to tree planting. It is estimated that more than one million trees were planted on the first Arbor Day.

Morton's idea quickly spread. Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and in many other countries. Actual dates of the event differ for each area depending on planting times. Idaho celebrates Arbor Day the last Friday of April each year, the same date as National Arbor Day.

"Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future."
J. Sterling Morton

Ten Things You Can Do to Celebrate Arbor Day in addition to planting a tree:

10 Learn how Arbor Day began. 5 Learn about all the neat things we get from trees.
9 Find out about Idaho's state tree, the Western White Pine.. 4 Learn how to identify trees and impress your friends.
8 Buy a forest license plate and support forest education programs. 3 Send an Arbor Day e-card to your friends and family.
7 Learn how paper is made and try it with your friends or family. 2 Share your tree planting experience on IFPC's Facebook page.
6 Proudly wear an official Idaho Arbor Day T-Shirt. 1 PLANT A TREE.


Good Things Happen
            When You Plant Trees

    Trees:   Nature's Brilliant Invention    

Trees are the earthís oldest living organisms. They improve air and water quality; reduce heating and cooling costs; provide a cool and beautiful place to live, work and play; are a renewable source of fuel, shelter, food and other products and provide benefits that directly affect the economic, environmental and social health of Idahoís people and the communities where they live.

One reason we harvest trees is that we all use forest products. Each year the average American uses the equivalent of a tree about 100í tall and 18Ē in diameter. Itís a good thing that trees are growing every day and nearly 100% of a tree can be used to make wood and other forest products

Has a Tree Touched Your Life Today?
There are over 5,000 products that come from trees. Some are obvious like the wood used to build our homes and furniture, or the paper in our books, bags, milk cartons, boxes and tissues. Other forest products aren't so easily recognized. Chemicals and other materials from trees are key ingredients in paint, varnish, adhesives, asphalt, artificial vanilla flavoring, cereals, chewing gum, hair spray, mouthwash, soaps and shampoos, tires and many, many other things -- even toothpaste.
Every American uses over a ton of wood each year! How many times will a tree touch your life today?

Help Plant a Forest

When you buy an Idaho forest license plate a portion of the fee will go to help reforestation and education projects in Idaho. Forest plates are available for your car, truck or motor home at motor vehicle offices throughout the state. Forest plates can be purchased any time of the year, and make a great Arbor Day statement.
More information

Look to the FUTURE - Look to the FOREST

Idahoís past and future is tied to the millions of acres of forests that cover the state. These forests are Idaho ís legacy. They contribute to our state and our way of life. We all benefit from the wood and paper products, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities Idaho ís forests provide. In the future, weíll look to our forests for even more: clean energy, new products, carbon storage, good jobs and a healthy environment. The challenge will be to keep our legacy healthy and productive through active forest management.

    Trees:   Nature's Brilliant Invention    

Trees are the earthís oldest living organisms. They improve air and water quality; reduce heating and cooling costs; provide a cool and beautiful place to live, work and play; are a renewable source of fuel, shelter, food and other products and provide benefits that directly affect the economic, environmental and social health of Idahoís people and the communities where they live.

One reason we harvest trees is that we all use forest products. Forest resources make up 47% of the total raw materials used in U. S. manufacturing. In fact, each year the average American uses the equivalent of a tree about 100í tall and 18" in diameter. Itís a good thing that nearly 100% of a tree can be used to make wood and other forest products.

Look to the FOREST

SUSTAINABLE. Forests can be used and managed to meet our environmental, economic and social needs today while leaving the forests in a condition that allows future generations to meet their own needs. All Idaho forestland owners must comply with state and federal environmental laws that protect forest resources. Many forest owners also enroll in a voluntary certification system which provides consumers with a third-party verification of sustainable management practices.

RENEWABLE. A renewable resource is a natural resource that can be re-grown, re-made or re-generated. When trees die or are harvested, others can be grown for the future. In Idaho, state law requires that a healthy, robust forest be quickly re-established following harvest.

DYNAMIC. Like people, trees are living things that are constantly moving through some part of their life cycle. Forests are dynamic and can never stay the same over time.

Working Forests are where trees
are continuously grown, harvested
and re-grown for the future.

JOBS: Working forests fuel Idaho ís economy with wages, taxes and purchases from employees and businesses. In 2014, forest businesses in Idaho provided over 11,700 industry jobs and 10,370 additional jobs in service and realted businesses. Total wages were $429 million. Forest jobs average $36,500 - 40% more than other industries. Each of the 10,510 forest sector jobs in 2013 supported around two more jobs in other sectors.

PRODUCTS: Idahoís working forests provide wood and paper products that are marketed and used throughout the world. In 2014, the total sales value of turning timber into useful products was 3.7 billion. Forest businesses support Idaho's economy with a sustainable resource. Every dollar of sales outside Idaho generates an additional $0.60 of sales in other industries.

ENERGY: Wood building products are the best insulator against heat and cold that helps conserve energy and save on energy costs.
Biomass energy is a major product as most mills burn wood waste to generate heat and electricity for manufacturing. Idaho's forests grow one billion cubic feet of wood every year. Thinning hazardous fuels in forests could provide electricity and help meet Idaho ís growing energy needs. Woody biomass may be used in the future for bio-fuels and bio-products to replace fossil fuels.

ENVIRONMENT: Wood is the ultimate "green" product -- itís renewable, sustainable, recyclable, grown locally, versatile, biodegradable and has a smaller energy, water and carbon life cycle footprint than other products.

CARBON AND FORESTS: Healthy forests soak up carbon dioxide as they grow. Trees and wood products store carbon over long periods of time. Carbon dioxide is released as trees die and decay. Wildfires also release a tremendous amount of carbon into the atmosphere when they burn. Active forest management can help. Thinning and harvesting help keep forests healthy, growing and resistant to insects, disease and fire.

WATER: 63% of Idaho's water supply originates in forested watersheds. The Idaho Forest Practices Act protects water quality before, during and after harvest.

Working forests hold great promise for Idaho ís future -- clean energy, new products and jobs, carbon storage and a healthy environment for our children and their children.

Trees: Idaho ís growing resource

Idahoís forests are home to over 20 kinds of trees: "hardwoods" with broad leaves, "softwoods" with needles, "deciduous" trees that lose all their leaves each year, and "evergreen" trees that do not.

Species are used to make forest products in Idaho :
  • Lodgepole Pine
  • Western larch
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Grand fir
  • Subalpine fir
  • Western red cedar
  • Western hemlock
  • Douglas-fir
  • Englemann spruce
  • Mountain hemlock
  • Western white pine ( Idaho ís state tree)
Timber harvested from state "endowment" forests earns money for public schools and institutions! In FY2014, over $52 million was distributed throughout Idaho.

The Idaho Forest is Big

Of the 53 million acres of land in Idaho , "forest land" covers 21.3 million acres including 16.6 million acres of that are productive "timberlands", that are generally available for timber harvest. Forest ownership is divided between federal and state government, private landowners and forest product businesses. Each owner has specific objectives that determine how the forest is managed.

Hundreds of products are made from
trees harvested in Idaho every year:

Lumber and other structural building products such as dimensional lumber, solid beams, laminated beams, shingles, joists, laminated veneer lumber, finger-jointed lumber and engineered wood products.

Millwork used for doors, windows, cabinets, furniture, siding, flooring, moldings, fencing, shipping pallets.

Panel products such as plywood, particleboard and hardboard.

Posts, poles and timbers such as utility poles, house logs, fence posts, pilings, treated timbers, cross-arms and railroad ties.

Wood composite products such as siding, roofing, medium-density fiberboard and molding.

Pulp and paper products from wood fiber including packaging for food and products, newsprint, bathroom and facial tissue and paper toweling.

Things to think about this Arbor Day

Idaho's forests contribute to our state and our way of life.

Forests cover 21 million acres of Idaho, over 40% of the state.

Forests are renewable. When trees die or are harvested, more trees can be grown for the future.

Forests are sustainable. They can be managed to meet our needs today and not diminish
future generations' opportunities to use forest resources.

Working forests are where trees are continuously grown, harvested and re-grown for the future.

We all benefit from the clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities and protection from
catastrophic wildfires that working forests provide.

Working forests fuel Idaho's economy with wages, taxes and purchases from employees and businesses.

Forest businesses directly provided 10,510 jobs in Idaho in 2013 and over 9,280 other
related jobs in service and related businesses.

Idaho's working forests provide wood and paper products that are marketed and used throughout the world.
In 2013, over $2.4 billion of Idaho paper and wood products were sold.

Forest businesses support Idaho's economy with a sustainable resource.

Working forests hold great promise for Idaho's future - clean energy, new products and jobs, carbon storage
and a healthy environment for our children and their children.


The idea for Arbor Day originally came from Nebraska, where a lack of trees led to the founding of Arbor Day in the 1800s. Among pioneers moving ,into the Nebraska Territory in 1854 was J. Sterling Morton from Detroit. He and his wife were lovers of nature, and the home they established in Nebraska was quickly planted with trees shrubs and flowers. Morton was a journalist and soon became editor of Nebraska's first newspaper.

He spread agricultural information and his enthusiasm for trees to an equally enthusiastic audience. His fellow pioneers missed their trees. But, more importantly, trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and building materials, and for shade from the hot sun. Morton advocated tree planting by individuals in his articles and editorials, and encouraged civic organizations and groups to join in. His prominence in the area increased, and he became secretary of the Nebraska Territory, which provided another opportunity to stress the value of trees.

Arbor Day's Beginnings

On January 4, 1872, Morton proposed a tree-planting holiday to be called "Arbor Day" at a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. The date was set for April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for planting properly the largest number of trees on that day. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.

Arbor Day was officially proclaimed by the young state's Gov. Robert W. Furnas on March 12, 1874, and the day itself was observed April 10, 1874. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal holiday in Nebraska and April 22, Morton's birthday, was selected as the date for its permanent observance.

During the 1870's other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day. Today the most common date for the state observances is the last Friday in April, and several U.S. presidents have proclaimed a national Arbor Day on that date. But a number of 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.

A Proclamation
by President Theodore. Roosevelt, 1907:

To the School Children of the United States:
Arbor Day (which means simply "Tree Day") is now observed in every State in our Union and mainly in the schools. At various times from January to December, but chiefly in this month of. April, you give a day or part of a day to special exercises and perhaps to actual tree planting, in recognition of the importance of trees to us as a Nation, and of what they yield in adornment, comfort, and useful products to the communities in which you live.

It is well that you should celebrate your Arbor Day thoughtfully, for within your lifetime the Nation's need of trees will become serious. We of an older generation can get along without what we have, though With growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied, and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted.

For the nation as for the man or woman, and the boy or girl, the road to success is the right use of what we have and the improvement of present opportunity. If you neglect to prepare yourselves not for the duties and responsibilities which will fall upon you later, if you do not learn the things which you will need to know when your school days are over, you will, suffer the consequences. So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal, whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life.

A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless; forests which are so used that they can not renew themselves will soon vanish, and with them all their benefits. A true forest is not merely a storehouse full of wood, but, as it. were, a factory of wood, and at the same time a reservoir of water. When you help to preserve our forests or, to plant new ones you are acting the part of good citizens. The value of forestry deserves, therefore, to be taught in the schools, which aim to make good citizens of you. If your Arbor Day exercises help you to realize what benefits each one of you receives from the forests, and how by your assistance these benefits may continue, they will serve a good end.

Tips on Planting Trees

Before you dig, do your homework. Anyone can dig a hole and "plant" a tree, but you want the tree to survive. Ask yourself if this is the RIGHT TREE and is this the RIGHT PLACE?

There are hundreds-even thousands--of different kinds of trees that you can select to plant. Check with your local nursery, certified landscaper, garden club, or city forester for a list of the trees that will provide all the characteristics you desire (size, shape, colors, flowers, hardiness, growth rate, etc.) and grow best in the spot you select. Be sure to check the soil conditions, drainage, and how much water and sunlight the tree will need. Try to anticipate how large the tree might grow in the future and allow plenty of room for this expansion. This simple exercise will improve your long- term chance of success. It is also a wonderful way to integrate key science concepts and processes (change, cycles, predicting, collecting and analyzing data) into your Arbor Week activities. You can buy a tree from a local nursery (or mail order catalog), or ask them to make a donation. Beware: Many government agencies, businesses, and community groups give away tree seeds and small seedlings, but these quot;free" trees may not be the RIGHT TREE for your particular planting spot. Also, bigger trees, when planted property, usually have a better chance of surviving then small ones. HELPFUL HINT: Plant the biggest trees you can!

  • To find a good spot at school, check with your superintendent and landscape crew.
  • To find a good spot in town, check with your city forester or local park director.
  • Always check with your utility companies! (Overhead wires? Underground pipes & cables?)

If a good location can not be found, don't panic! Plant your trees in large pots or containers. Place the trees outdoors on the patio, in the courtyard, near a window, or along the sidewalk or driveway. (Don't forget to check on the trees regularly)

    Ten Things YOU and your students can do to Celebrate Trees!

1 Language Arts--Imagine the most beautiful tree in the world. Think about how it would look, where it would grow, what you would say to it. Share your ideas through stories and drawings. 6 Geography--Dissect a candy bar to identify tree products (nuts, cocoa, coconut, wrapper). Map their possible origins. Show how people depend on forests for food, shelter, and livelihood.
2 Science--Plant and study tree seeds, record germination rates, and grow seedlings. Give as Mother's Day gifts! 7 Science--Identify ten different trees by leaves, bark, shape, wood, etc. Sample tree products: maple syrup, apples, nuts. Determine which tree parts you're eating.
3 Art--Make wooden bird houses, feeders or jewelry. Create handmade paper greeting cards. Design creatures from cones, twigs and other tree parts. 8 Math--Explore how much wood is used to produce an issue of your favorite comic book or newspaper. Investigate rates of recycling and reforestation. Graph your data.
4 Geography--Map the vegetation around your school grounds. Conduct a tree planting project. 9 Social Studies/Language Arts--Interview people of many ages to learn how trees touch their lives. Write an article or letter to the editor of your local or school newspaper sharing your findings.
5 Art--Design a T-shirt with a forest theme. Invite a local reporter to photograph your class in the T-shirts. 10 Science--Keep a log of how wildlife use your neighborhood trees. Describe the animals (insects, too!) and how they use flowers, leaves, limbs, seeds and bark. Surprises await you!

Look to the Forest
Arbor Day Photo Contest

Congratulations to Isabelle DeVries of Midvale Jr. and Sr. High School
The 2012 Arbor Day Photo Contest

Click here to see the 2013 Photo Gallery

Idaho 5th-12th Grade Students & Teachers!

Congratulations to Rebecca Blanscet
of Parma High School
WINNER of the
2012 Arbor Day Photo Contest.

Click here to learn more.

Arbor Day Trivia!
Trees from A to Z Word Puzzle

Arbor Day Scavenger Hunt
Use your senses to find and check off each item.    Happy hunting!

  • A tree younger than you
  • An insect on a tree
  • A songbird in a tree
  • A bird's nest in a tree (don't disturb it!)
  • A twig with a "face"
  • An animal's home in a tree
  • A tree shaped like a triangle
  • A tree that's changed something
  • A stump telling a tree's history
  • Dried tree"blood" (sap)
  • Last year's leaf still on a tree
  • Three leaves with different shades of green
  • A partially eaten seed cone
  • A tree with a healed injury
  • A tree that could use your help
  • A tree three times as tall as you
  • A seedling just sprouting near an older tree
  • Five things you've used today that have come from trees


    2010 marked the last Arbor Day Poster Contest sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
    Please Check Out the NEW Arbor Day Photo Contest sponsored by the Idaho Forest Products Commission!!

    The 2010 poster theme:

    2010 Idaho State Poster Contest Winner
    Kerringten Jones
    Prairie View Elementary, Post Falls

    Every year, fifth graders from throughout Idaho participate in the state Arbor Day poster contest. This year's poster theme is "ENERGY WISE." Idaho's first, second and third place winners receive U.S. savings bonds and their teachers receive cash for classroom use. The winning schools will also receive a tree to plant on Arbor Day compliments of the Idaho Nursery & Landscape Association. Each year, the winning state poster is sent to the National Arbor Day Foundation to compete with other posters from around the nation. Idaho has done exceptionally well at the national competition having won second place in 2002 and winning the contest in 2003 and 2005!

    The Idaho Arbor Day Poster Contest is sponsored by forest license plate revenues. Learn more about forest license plates at

    Winning Poster

    Click here for Arbor Day poster contest winners picture gallery. (2003 thru 2010)

    Some very special poems from 5th grade students at
    William Howard Taft Elementary School
    Teachers: Karen Abbott and Christianne Dunn


    Trees - they give us air
    We give them carbon dioxide
    They take it and give us oxygen, again and again

    The trees are beautiful
    Reborn in seedlings
    Eager to grow
    Eager to show
    Shine like a beautiful show in day and in the night

    Trees are important because
    They give us a lot of useful things
    Gum, houses, and
    A lot of other things

    Trees are nice to look at
    Really fun to climb
    East and West, trees are everywhere
    Everywhere you look you see trees
    Some are even where you can not see them
    Trees , Trees and More Trees
    Trees give us air to breathe
    Trees give us a house to live in
    Beautiful things to look at
    Trees, trees, trees, nothing is better

    Me as a Tree
    I grow tall and wide
    People pass me by everyday
    I wish people would pay attention to me.
    I want you to see how beautiful I can be
    So please look at me

    Trees are important
    Because they give
    Us life to live which is
    So inspiring

    Trees give us oxygen
    Resources are made from trees
    Every tree can be climbed
    Every tree is something fun

    Trees give us houses
    Trees give us air
    I see trees everywhere
    They give us boats
    They give us air
    Trees are the best thing

    The trees are beautiful
    They bring us air and paper
    And furnish homes for birds
    And sometimes people

    What Trees Give Us
    1. Oxygen
    2. Stop Erosion
    3. Shade
    4. Umbrella for rain
    5. Homes for animals
    6. Food
    7. Medicine
    8. Syrup
    9. Beautiful

    Trees they are our friends
    They are tall, strong and leafy
    They fill the earth with shade and oxygen
    Trees need our protection
    Let's plant some more

    Trees Are Important
    Trees are cool
    Trees are fun
    Trees give you shade
    When you are hiding from the sun
    When you need paper,
    They grow it
    When you need pencils,
    They know it
    Trees are important because they grow what we need

    Arbor Day is the last Friday of every April
    We celebrate trees like oak, pine and maple
    We get to hang out in the sun
    Arbor Day is so much fun
    If we plant trees here and there
    We will have cleaner air.
    Every year our trees will grow
    And our love for the earth will surely show

    The Maple Tree
    The taste on my finger
    It makes me quiver and linger
    Looking at my favorite maple tree
    At the memories I had
    Making me happy when I am sad
    Having these thoughts makes me think
    Along the way we formed a link
    We had a lot of fun
    Under the sun
    We understood each other
    Kind of like sister and brother
    Our moms are different
    Our dads are too
    But somehow we're the same
    I know it's true

    Is for tree as you can see
    Real as the air that we breathe
    Environmental for you and me
    Everyone is happy that we planted this tree

    Some very special poems from 5th grade students at Taft Elementary

    Oh Tree, Oh Tree
    You are the best tree
    I would hate to see you go
    Oh tree, oh tree,
    Donít go free

    You are wonderful tree
    Grow as high as the sky
    Grow until you die

    A tree that swayed so high
    Like a bird in the sky
    I love that grand old tree
    I sat down to drink tea
    Under that maple tree
    I love that grand old tree
    Oh How
    Oh How
    Oh How
    Oh How
    How I love that grand old treeí
    Where I sit to drink my tea

    Iíve just been planted snug in the ground so I wish I could turn around.
    I watch the children playing joyfully
    I wish I could play with them
    A squirrel climbs up me and scratches me joyfully

    Trees are beautiful, yes they are
    Theyíre even more beautiful when youíre in a car
    Trees are beautiful for their colors
    All people love them, especially mothers.
    Trees are cool because they are tall
    When the birds are in them you hear them call
    Trees can get So So tall
    You can see the birds, you can see it all
    Trees are so cool because they are high
    When you are in them you can touch the sky
    Oh my, oh my
    I love that tree

    As I walk through the forest
    The great big redwoods seem to chorus
    In howls and growls
    And the wind whistles and the needles drop like missiles
    The redwoods being so grand
    I walk through this mighty forest
    In which these friendly giants are spanned
    And I wish my journey would never end
    Buit I do not have any time to lend.

    The most magnificent tree Iíve ever seen
    Was big, was tall
    With a smell of maple
    Itís planted way out there in that meadow of ours.
    Itís great for a tire swing, nerf wars, and hiding when sad.
    That most magnificent tree that Iíve ever seen
    Nick D.

    By the pond lays a plum tree
    This is the last tree and in it the last beehive.
    Barely surviving, the tree holds strong, but one day a plum fell in a hole
    And no one saw it again
    No fruit left, the tree bare and the bees had trouble finding food.
    Suddenly out of the ground burst a sapling.
    The bees buzzing for joy as the earth was reviving itself.
    John S.

    The Cherry Blossom Tree in Tokyo

    As I walk through the streets of the Tokyo City ,
    The last think I see is very pretty
    The Cherry Blossom Tree

    Next to a shimmering beautiful pond,
    It stands with all beyond
    The Cherry Blossom Tree

    The next time I visit,
    Or when I see it,
    I will always think
    Of the first time I did sink,
    Within the Cherry Blossom Tree.

    The Life of a Coconut Tree

    Faraway in the country
    Near an old barn, with animals,
    Sits a coconut tree

    That can tell a real good yarn.
    First I grow big and enormous
    Says he, that grand old coconut tree

    When those bright coconuts began to grow,
    I was happy to have something to share.

    During a huge storm
    As my coconuts bounced away,
    And all my branches began to sway
    I wished for a wind that was warm

    As I see the new saplings sprouting nearby,
    I was happy to see good friends
    Wish me a happy good-bye.

    Why does an old man plant a tree?
    by Robert H Mealey

    My friends quite often ask of me,
    Why does an old man plant a tree?
    It grows so slow it will not pay,
    A profit for you anyway.
    Then why in storm and winter cold,
    Do you plant when you are so old?

    The answer seems hard to define,
    When muscles ache and they are mine.
    But I just cannot stand to see,
    A space where there should be a tree.
    So that in part as years unfold,
    Is why I plant when I'm so old.

    I know that animals, bugs and things,
    Love trees, and so do such as go on wings.
    So creatures wild that benefit,
    Is one more reason I can't quit
    From planting trees while I can hold,
    My planting hoe, though I'm so old.

    They say that those retired from labor,
    Should fish and play and talk to neighbor.
    They say also that folks in leisure,
    Should do the things which give them pleasure.
    And so the thought on which I'm sold,
    I'll plant some trees though I'm so old.

    As time goes on my trees will grow.
    So tall and clean and row on row.
    The furry folk will have a home,
    The birds can nest, and kids can roam.
    And all of this as I have told,
    I planted trees though I'm so old.

    And then there is my family,
    Young folks who will follow me.
    I'd like to leave them with some land,
    Stocked with trees and looking grand.
    These gifts I value more than gold,
    So I plant some trees though I'm so old.

    And taxes too for schools and roads,
    With jobs and lumber for abodes.
    I won't see these things, I won't be here.
    But to my mind it's very clear.
    The words of some who could be polled,
    Might thank a man who is so old.

    Man should be proud of what's his own,
    And how he's managed what he's grown.
    But management must be begun,
    By planting seedlings one by one.
    And so my pride I shall uphold,
    I'll plant some trees though I'm so old.

    So when my friends ask of me,
    Why does and old man plant a tree?
    Perhaps the lines above explain,
    How aching back and limbs in pain,
    May by commitment be controlled,
    To plant my trees though I'm so old.


    This Arbor Day I Vote For Trees
    An Arbor Day Editorial by Ben Ysursa, Idaho Secretary of State.

    Ben Ysursa

    Ben Ysursa

    I've spent over 40 years working for the great state Idaho. After all this time, I continue to be amazed by our tremendous natural resources and all they do for the state.

    As Secretary of State, I oversee the election process, facilitate business activity and provide timely public record information. I also serve as a member of the State Board of Land Commissioners, better known as the ďLand BoardĒ.

    The Land Board provides direction in managing over 2.4 million acres of state endowment trust lands, including nearly a million acres of forests. These forests were granted to Idaho at statehood and have been working for Idahoís public schools and institutions ever since. Revenue from trees harvested on these forests has long provided the majority of money invested into the endowment funds each year from the management of state lands. In 2014, the payout from the endowment topped $48.8 million in distributions to public schools and universities, and state charitable institutions such as the Veterans Hospital and the penitentiary.

    These endowment distributions aid the state in three ways. First, the $48.8 million dollars paid out in 2014 are dollars that will not need to be raised through taxes. These monies are actually created with water, soil and sunshine by growing trees. Second, because trees are a renewable resource, when a tree is harvested today another can be replanted for the future. Forests can be sustainably managed for our needs down the road. Finally, growing, harvesting and making trees into wood and paper products keeps our neighbors and local businesses working and contributing to our stateís economy.

    Our state has been growing, harvesting and replanting trees for over a century. Itís a formula that works. In the past five years, weíve hand planted 1.4 million trees every year on state endowment forests in addition to what nature seeds. Thatís one tree for every person in the state every year. When you add this to the number of seedlings planted and seeded on private and federal forestlands, itís a lot of trees!

    From clean water to wildlife habitat and recreation to carbon storage, weíve all heard about the great benefits of trees. The last Friday in April is Arbor Day, a celebration of trees and working forests. I encourage you to look to the forest this Arbor Day and consider the many ways trees contribute to our state and our lives.

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    Ben Ysursa is the Idaho Secretary of State. The contact telephone number for the office is (208) 334-2852

    An Arbor Day Thought: Infrastructure is the Key to Healthy Growing Forests
    An Arbor Day Editorial by Betty Munis, Director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission   -   208/334-3292

    Arbor Day is the last Friday in April. It is a chance for Idahoans to reflect on the importance of trees, forests and wood products in our everyday lives. We all love trees and we all love everything that trees do for us. From providing wildlife habitat, to clean air and water, recreational opportunities and the renewable raw materials for wood and paper products, trees are truly miraculous. It is important for us to appreciate these many gifts, but it is equally important for us to focus on how to keep all of our forests healthy and growing for the future. This will require active forest management and a healthy forest infrastructure.

    Last year, forest products businesses employed 22,000 people and contributed $3.7 billion to Idaho's economy. This doesn't just happen. It depends on a solid industry infrastructure including everything needed to grow, harvest, process, transport and sell products made from trees. It involves highly skilled loggers, foresters, planters and haulers, productive mills and plants, high-tech equipment and well-trained employees, and a network of safe forest roads and highways, railways and barges. It involves investment in a highly volatile commodity business with worldwide competition. It involves committed, hard-working people. Some of whom head to the woods and start their day before dawn. Others begin their shifts well after dark.

    Idaho is fortunate to have such an infrastructure. It not only provides jobs and products. It also is the key to keeping our forests healthy and growing.

    National Forests managed by the U.S. Forest Service make up the lion's share of Idaho's 21.4 million acres of forests. At a whopping 76% of the total, it's a larger percentage than any other state. Sadly, USFS Chief Tidwell reports that over 70%, or 15 million acres of National Forests in Idaho need some degree of restoration. Around 85% of annual forest mortality in Idaho is on National Forest system lands. Forest density has increased 30% since 1953, creating overstocked conditions loading our National Forests with crowded dead and dying trees. According to the Government Accountability Office, "The most extensive and serious problem related to the health of National Forests in the Interior West is the over accumulation of vegetation, which has caused an increasing number of large, intensive, uncontrollable and catastrophically destructive wildfires."

    Most Idahoans agree that the restoration of overcrowded stands of trees is a good idea, but it's important to understand what restoration truly means. In some cases, it may mean prescribed burning, while in others, it could be thinning by hand, mechanical harvesting or logging all the trees in an area and restarting the forest by planting the appropriate tree species.

    Treatments are site-specific, dependent on factors such as stand condition, soil type, relative moisture, species mix, etc., but the overall goal of treatment--vibrant, growing forests--is consistent. This goal has united environmentalists and industry in ways that would have been unheard of not so long ago. Why? Both groups know that restoration of National Forests simply cannot occur without a forest infrastructure: professional foresters, loggers and haulers with the skills and equipment to get the work done and mills and plants to make wood and paper products that will offset taxpayer's costs for restoration.

    Many of our neighbor states have lost their forest infrastructure and are now left with few options to deal with increasingly unhealthy National Forests.

    This Arbor Day, remember all the good things that come from trees and support the forest products businesses that will keep it that way for future generations.

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    Betty Munis is the Director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission.

    It's time we look to our forests
    An Arbor Day Editorial by Betty Munis, Director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission   -   208/334-3292

    It's no secret that the timber industry has had its share of struggles during this economic downturn. We've faced historic drops in housing starts and lumber sales and there still remains a huge backlog of unsold homes and underwater mortgages We're worried about rising fuel costs and an aging workforce. While it's easy to point out the challenges in front of us, we should all be taking a closer look at what's happening around us. It's change and opportunity. And both are happening at an unprecedented pace. There are big changes taking place in our economy and our society setting the stage for new opportunities.

    The Weak Dollar: Our declining economy and bloated debt has weakened the dollar and made our products more affordable to other nations. Many predict this may be a long term situation which creates an opportunity to develop export markets and products. There's a growing international market for Idaho's high quality wood products and we're finding our place at the table.

    The "Local" Movement: American consumer's desire to purchase products that are local with a known provenance is real and it makes sense. We have abundant forests growing in our own back yard. We have laws in place to protect resources and we have certification programs that assure consumers about the origins of a product and how it's made. Buying local products keep jobs in local communities and create taxes for local governments and schools. Just a few years ago talking about the employment impact of a local business created yawns. Today we're all learning the importance of a working "Joe Sixpack".

    Green is Good: The more people think about what "green" really is, the better wood and paper products look. Going "green" means considering the carbon footprint and life cycle analysis of the products we use. That's good for products made from trees, a renewable resource that can be sustainably managed over time. Wood and paper products are also energy and resource efficient, renewable, recyclable and reusable. What's not to love?

    Environmental Enlightenment: More and more, environmental groups and the public are learning that a forest products infrastructure is essential to restoring unhealthy national forests. Without the equipment and know how of loggers and the ability to make products and offset costs, forest restoration projects can be a bottomless money pit. Collaborative groups are popping up throughout the west comprised of people that traditionally met in court. They're trying to reach common goals on federal lands and preserve the integrity of the communities they all value.

    Upsides to a Down Economy: When belts tighten, Americans are quick to adjust their spending. As a top producer of private label paper products our local paper company had an outstanding year as consumers shifted from name-brand to store-brand tissue and paper products. Their success supported numerous Idaho jobs, local businesses and our tax base.

    Change and opportunity. Resources are a valuable asset and play an important role in creating wealth and stimulating economies. The public is coming around to value working forests and all they contribute to the environment and the economy. If we take the time to look to the forest, we'll see it's poised to explode with change and opportunity. The question is who will look to the forest and what will they see?

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    Betty Munis is the Director of the Idaho Forest Products Commission.

    Look to the Future, Look to the Forest
    April 27, 2010
    An Arbor Day Editorial by Brad Little, Lieutenant Governor

    Idahoans enjoy a unique way of life. Few places in the world come close to meeting Idaho's scenic beauty, abundance of clean water and rich farm, grazing and forest lands. Throughout the nation and the world, these resources are limited and precious. The strength of Idaho has been, and will be, our resources, our resourcefulness and our solid values. As we strive to maintain our jobs, businesses and way of life during these uncharted economic times, it's critical that we do not lose sight of the resources that make Idaho special and our responsibility to care for them.

    More than 21 million acres of forests contribute to our state and our way of life. We all benefit from well managed forests through clean water, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, bio-diversity, recreation opportunities, jobs, revenues for schools and renewable wood products. We all have a stake in making sure forests are sustainably managed.

    The nation looks to us to be responsible stewards of a national treasure and future generations are dependent on a predictable supply of water, wildlife and natural resources. Good forest stewardship means responsible management by all forest owners. In the early 1950's my Dad began managing our family's timberlands in a way that would be sustainable over time and generations. Our management activities include timber harvest, pre-commercial thinning and fuel reduction projects. Sustainable management has become a Little family legacy. In our family business, we strive to be good stewards of our land and government must do the same.

    Years of fire suppression with no thinning and management on national forests have resulted in overly dense, stressed forests with excessive buildup of fuels and large outbreaks of insects and disease. These are prefect conditions for huge catastrophic wildfires that pollute the air, kill wildlife, threaten watersheds and soils, harm tourism, waste resources and require dangerous and costly firefighting measures. Immediate action is needed to protect the environment and the taxpayer.

    As I see it, Idaho is full of opportunities and our forests hold great promise for the future, but only if we are good stewards and manage them as a sustainable resource.

    As we look to the future, we should look to the forest. Whether they are working forests or wilderness, forests covers more that 40 percent of Idaho. The renewable resources in our own backyard should play an important role in creating a new competitive business environment in Idaho that builds a strong economy for future generations of Idahoans.

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    Brad Little is Lieutenant Governor of the State of Idaho, rancher, farmer and 2009 "Idaho Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year".

    How to Save a Tree
    by Betty J. Munis, Director, Idaho Forest Products Commission

    Everywhere I turn, someone is telling me to "Save a Tree." I hear it from my banker, my insurance company, my computer, at the grocery store and the coffee shop. I hear it from the guy on TV promoting an Internet business, the news anchor reporting on how to save the planet, and from movie stars who like to talk about environmental issues.

    This whole "Save a Tree" thing smacks on green-washing. They want us to see them as environmentally responsible and feel good about buying their product or idea. They want us to believe they care about forests and if we care too, we should "Save a Tree" by not using tree products.

    But how does one really "Save a Tree"? Trees are living things with life spans. They sprout, grow, compete, mature, decline and die. To imply that you can "Save a Tree" by not using wood products is just wrong. It's a sound bite designed to make you feel guilty when trees are harvested for the products you use.

    Trees are a great resource that should be used. They're renewable and can be sustainably managed. Healthy, growing trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Wood products hold carbon over long periods of time. They are energy efficient and can be reused and recycled. Trees help fuel our economy with wages, taxes and purchases from businesses and employees. Last year, trees provided 13,500 Idaho jobs, $1.7 billion worth of products, supported hundreds of service businesses and contributed nearly $30 million to our schools.

    Moreover, trees are abundant and growing in Idaho. They cover 40 percent of the state which is more than 21 million acres! Idaho has millions of acres of wilderness and special areas off limits to logging. We also have some of the most productive forestland in the nation. Where it makes sense, we should harvest use and replant trees.

    If you care about the environment and want trees around in the future, you should support harvesting trees, using wood and paper products, and replanting trees for the future. You should buy tree products from places like Idaho where laws protect the environment and require reforestation when trees are harvested. You should support the professional people that work in Idaho's forest products businesses. They, too, care about the forest.

    Idaho loggers, millworkers, truckers, manufacturers, foresters and forest landowners are part of a sustainable business that keep forests working and growing. What they do to helps ensures that forests remain places that support wildlife, provide clean air and water, sequester carbon and contribute to Idaho's economy rather than being converted to other uses.

    What else can you do? Encourage your kids to look into natural resource careers. We need their bright minds and talents to meet future challenges. Support using Idaho wood products in local buildings and bridges. Learn more about our amazing forests and support forest education and research.

    And the next time someone tells you to "Save a Tree" by not use wood products, be bold and ask them "Why?" Explain that not using forest resources is a lose-lose deal for Idaho. We'll lose the environmental and economic benefits of producing forest products. We'll lose forestland to other uses and reduce our opportunities to enjoy these special places. We'll pay more to fight wildfires in overcrowded forests. We'll miss out on the tremendous opportunities renewable trees hold for the future.

    We must make thoughtful choices because not using trees won't save trees. Instead, "Save a Tree" using trees, replanting trees and keeping working forests working.

    Keep Working Forests Working
    by Betty J. Munis, Director, Idaho Forest Products Commission

    Forests are just one of the things that make the northwest such a unique and special place. But they're an important one. Forests are where we go to hike, hunt and fish, to view wildlife, find mushrooms or huckleberries and just take a break from our hectic lives to enjoy nature. They are also the workplace for thousands of loggers, foresters and resource managers that help provide wood and paper products. While we live in the northwest, we are a part of a global community. If you care about the northwest and the environment, you should support working forests in your own back yard.

    While 40% of Idaho is covered in trees, not all forests are managed in the same way. National Forests, state parks, endowment lands, tribal lands, family and individual forest landowners, tree farmers and forest companies care for their forests in different ways to meet their own unique objectives. "Working forests" are managed to grow healthy trees that will be harvested for wood and paper products. But these forests provide much more than that. Working forests help both the environment and Idaho's economy in very big ways.

    Forests, carbon and climate change are related. Increases in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to higher air temperatures. Forests absorb carbon dioxide and reduce its presence in the atmosphere. Growing trees turn water, sunlight and carbon dioxide into oxygen and solid carbon. Trees will continue to store huge amounts of carbon over time as will wood products. Keeping forest lands in forest uses is crucial to capturing and storing carbon in the future. A warmer climate makes dense, overstocked forests even more vulnerable to wildfires which release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

    Wood is good to use. Wood is a renewable resource that is both recyclable and biodegradable. Wood building products require fewer non-renewable fossil fuels and less energy to produce than alternative materials. Wood is the best insulator against heat and cold, which makes it the most energy-efficient material that can help contain energy costs.

    By keeping Idaho's working forests working, we support sustainable forestry and protect forest resources. Water, soils and wildlife habitat are protected and logged areas are reforested when we harvest trees in Idaho - it's the law. This isn't the case in many areas of the world that don't protect their forest resources, allow deforestation and look the other way when it comes to illegal logging. Buying wood and paper products from unprotected and unsustainable sources is environmentally irresponsible.

    Logging is essential to have the wood and paper products we all use, to thin overcrowded forests and remove diseased and unhealthy trees. How, when and where we log is the question. Idaho is home to many professional loggers, foresters and resource managers who care deeply about the woods and work hard to do the right thing, follow the laws and protect the future of this great resource.

    Working forests are the root of nearly 15,000 Idaho jobs and $1.7 billion of products made in the state last year. They endow our public schools and institutions with millions of dollars each year. Carbon trading is already well established in Europe and underway in the U.S. Carbon trading could be a tremendous economic opportunity for Idaho where forests are abundant.

    It is important that look beyond the current lull in the lumber market to see the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for Idaho's working forests - but only if we keep them working.

    - 2010 Arbor Day Photo Gallery


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