Arbor Day in Mississippi is recognized annually on the second Friday in February. This year, that happens to also fall on Valentine’s Day, February 14.
The Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC) is encouraging all Mississippians to participate in Arbor Day on February 14 by planting new trees on their property or in their community.
“Late winter is the best time to plant new trees in Mississippi,” said Russell Bozeman, MFC state forester. “This increases survival rate by giving young trees time to establish their root system before the spring arrives.”
Leading up to the state’s celebration of Arbor Day, many counties across Mississippi will hold tree giveaways and sales. A list of these events can be found at http://www.mfc.ms.gov/.
“Trees have a tremendous impact on us,” Bozeman said. “Trees are not only vital to Mississippi’s economic well-being; they also play a huge role in our physical health.”
Forestry and related industries contribute approximately $12.8 billion to the state’s economy annually. More than 70,000 full-time and part-time jobs in Mississippi are forestry related.
Trees filter pollutants from the air, decreasing the risk of respiratory illnesses. Studies show that exposure to trees relaxes and restores the mind, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Viewing trees while recovering from surgery can increase a patient’s pain threshold, requiring less pain relievers and shortening recovery time
Last week, recognizing the important role trees have in our state, Gov. Tate Reeves proclaimed February 14 as Mississippi Arbor Day, as well as February 14 – 21 as Mississippi Tree Planting Week.
“I believe trees are the answer to many questions,” said Bozeman. “On a state level, forestry is the number two agriculture commodity in Mississippi. On an individual level, science proves that healthy trees equal healthy lives.”
This Valentine’s Day, and the week following, show some love to your state and community. Start a new family tradition of planting a new tree in your yard each year on Arbor Day. Start a community event by gathering with neighbors to plant new trees at a local park or green space.
About Arbor Day
Tree planting festivals have been popular dating back to the earliest days of civilization. Sacred trees, planted roadsides and shaded school walks were common long before North America was discovered. However, Arbor Day is purely American in origin. It was first observed in Nebraska in 1872. The first official Arbor Day celebration was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1882.
Arbor Day became an official day of observance in Mississippi in 1926. Years later, the second Friday in February was firmly adopted as Mississippi Arbor Day.