Have you hugged a tree today?

NEWPORT - Arbor Day is as American as apple pie, but 140 years after the first official Arbor Day celebration, the importance of this holiday has spread across the world. The idea behind planting trees is credited to J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, NB, who organized a tree planting event on April 10, 1872. A reported one million trees were planted as a result of Morton's vision.The holiday was globalized eleven years later when Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut gave an Arbor Day and Village Improvement speech in Japan. Following the speech, the American Forestry Association made Northrop the chairperson of a committee to make Arbor Day a nationally recognized holiday. Currently, at least 36 countries recognize the benefits of Arbor Day and hold annual events.In recognition of Arbor Day, the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District is holding its annual plant sale on Saturday, May 5th, from 9 a.m. to 2.p.m at the Waterfront Plaza in Newport. Proceeds from the fundraiser are used within the conservation district for programs and services benefiting residents in the Northeast Kingdom.Additional programs supported by OCNRCD include Trees For Streams Magog, which is an annual, riparian, buffering, cost-share program for landowners on streams and rivers in Orleans County. Trees for Streams can cover 80% of the cost to plant buffers along streams and rivers. The Northeast Kingdom Lakeshore Buffering Program offers similar support for lake and pond front landowners.By tradition the national holiday is celebrated on the last Friday in April.