On Jan. 16 and 17 Franklin County's fourth graders planted 130 tree seedlings to commemorate Arbor Day.
Arbor Day planting is part of a nationwide "Drive to Revive Arbor Day," organized by Fourth Grade Foresters USA and sponsored and funded locally by the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District.
According to local Arbor Day organizer Lesley Cox, "participating in Arbor Day gets the students outside planting trees at school and in their neighborhoods, preparing the next generation of environmental stewards.”
Appropriately, the tree seedlings were sabal palm (Sabal palmetto), first designated in 1953 as Florida's official state tree and since 1970 a part of the state's official seal.
Students designated as official Fourth Grade Foresters at the Apalachicola Bay Charter School, First Baptist Christian School, and Franklin County School were each given a seedling to take home and plant in their neighborhood.
The first Arbor Day, held April 10, 1872 in Nebraska, is attributed to Julius Sterling Morton a member of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. In 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.
Today, all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the date may vary in keeping with local climate, planting recommendations. In Florida, it is celebrated on the third Friday in January.