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Proclamation 6122—National Arbor Day, 1990

April 26, 1990

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

When our Nation was founded more than 200 years ago, it boasted such dense forests that one European visitor was moved to write, "the entire country is one vast wood." During the 19th century, however, as our young Republic grew and prospered and new towns and industries spread across the frontier, the heavy use of wood for fuel, lumber, and other products began to deplete our Nation's trees at an alarming rate.

To dramatize the need to preserve America's dwindling tree supply, concerned residents of Nebraska observed the first Arbor Day in 1872. Julius Sterling Morton, the prominent Nebraska politician who later became our third Secretary of Agriculture, was instrumental in encouraging other States to follow suit. Today, Arbor Day is an excellent occasion for all Americans to commit themselves to participating in one of the most important environmental efforts of the decade: our Administration's plan to plant one billion new trees every year for the next 10 years.

The spirit of environmental stewardship that animates our annual Arbor Day activities is the same spirit that inspires our tree-planting efforts throughout the year. Thanks to the work of concerned citizens and officials at every level of government, we currently have more timber growing in our forests than at any other time in the past 40 years. Last year we set a record in acreage of trees planted in a single year.

However, Arbor Day celebrates much more than the cultivation of trees. It calls increased attention to the importance of reforestation not only in our national forests but also in tropical forests, rain forests, and wetlands around the world. It also provides an occasion to recognize the excellent management practices utilized by private and public foresters in their efforts to respond to the ever-increasing demand for wood products in this country.

As we observe Arbor Day, let us gratefully acknowledge the thousands of Americans who are engaged in efforts to plant and care for trees in their cities and neighborhoods. From children aided by their parents or teachers to volunteers involved in highly organized reforestation and wildlife habitat restoration projects, Americans of all ages are helping to improve our communities, parks, forests, and wilderness areas. Their efforts will help to clean our air, improve the quality of our water, and shelter us from the sun and wind. To them goes the lasting honor described by the American clergyman and author, Henry Van Dyke: "He that planteth a tree is the servant of God, He provideth a kindness for many generations, and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him."

In recognition of the value of planting trees, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 258, has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation designating the last Friday of April 1990 as "National Arbor Day."

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim April 27, 1990, as National Arbor Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6122—National Arbor Day, 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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