Celebrate value of Missouri trees during Arbor Days in April

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – No matter where Missourians live -- in the country, suburbs or cities -- trees and forests are vital to their health, wealth and happiness. Covering more than one-third of the state, Missouri trees and forests protect soil from erosion and filter water, provide oxygen needed to breathe and clean the air by trapping and storing pollution. Missouri trees and forests also provide lumber and other wood products used around the state and around the world. This industry supports more than 32,000 Missouri jobs and generates almost $6 billion in annual economic activity. Missouri forests and trees also provide habitats for an incredible diversity of plants and animals that could not exist without them, along with a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities and breathtaking scenic beauty.

Celebrate the value of Missouri trees and forests on Arbor Days in April by planting native trees and practicing proper tree care. Arbor Day in Missouri is Friday, April 6, and National Arbor Day is Friday, April 27. Missouri has been observing Arbor Day since 1886 when the General Assembly declared that the first Friday in April should be set aside for the appreciation and planting of trees. National Arbor Day is recognized on the last Friday of April. Each state determines its Arbor Day based on its unique climate and weather patterns.

Get more information on Backyard Tree Care, including proper tree selection and planting tips, at mdc.mo.gov/landwater-care/homeowners/backyard-tree-care.

In support of Arbor Day and in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) “Trees for Tomorrow” program, MDC distributed more than 100,000 native tree seedlings from its George O. White Nursery to fourth-grade classes from more than 1,200 schools throughout the state in March. MODOT provides financial support for the production and distribution of the trees. The seedling distribution supports MDC’s Discover Nature Schools program, which provides grade-appropriate curriculum and activities to help students understand the importance of conservation.

Rolla student wins state Arbor Day poster contest

Matthew Bippes, a fifth-grade home-schooled student from Rolla, was rewarded for his appreciation of trees by winning the 2012 Missouri Arbor Day Poster Contest. The contest is for fifth-graders throughout the state and is sponsored by MDC, Missouri Community Forestry Council and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri. More than 1,670 fifth-graders created posters, reflecting the theme “I like trees because…”

Matthew will receive a $100 savings bond from Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and a framed certificate from the Missouri Community Forestry Council. A commemorative tree will also be planted on a public site in Rolla as selected by Matthew and his family.