This is completely unconfirmed, but I’m convinced that the royal wedding paid tribute to the oft-forgotten holiday of Arbor Day. The surprising decorative touch of ‘planting’ trees all along the aisles of Westminster Abbey seemed a strange but smart decision — a trend-setting wedding decoration I hadn’t seen before. But then I hear it’s Arbor Day in the U.S. and it all makes sense. The royal couple was giving a subtle hint to their American fans: Go plant a tree.
Am I just way too immersed in parsing details of the wedding? Perhaps. I can’t help it. It’s all the Internet is talking about today. Arbor Day, on the other hand, doesn’t get so much love.
Part of the problem is it’s on the last Friday of April every year — not a set day. Which means it can be hard to remember the celebration. Compounding the confusion, certain states celebrate it on different days, depending on their best planting days. California, for instance, celebrates Arbor Week in March, since that’s the best time to plant Redwoods (though that wouldn’t really help Southern California, where Redwoods won’t really take to the arid landscape).
The holiday started 120 years ago and is celebrated by schoolchildren planting trees all over the country. For Washington residents, this handy map has all the trees mapped, that way you can know if you’re celebrating an oak or a maple. In honor of the day, Google, in partnership with Save the Redwoods League, has created a 3-D video of old-growth redwood forest to raise awareness about the trees. It also hopes to crowd-source citizen arborists in a plan to track and watch Redwoods across climates.
If you don’t have any Redwoods in your back yard, go find a tree to appreciate. Or take a page from the royal playbook and plant one inside your home.