Celebrating Five Decades
of Tree Planting

The Arbor Day Foundation has been inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees since 1972. And that simple mission has had a global impact. The Foundation has grown over the last 50 years to become the largest member nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. And in that time, we have worked with members, supporters, and a strong network of partners to plant and distribute nearly 500 million trees worldwide. But our work is far from over.

Trees help slow climate change, foster biodiversity, improve our communities, and provide a stronger future for everyone. It is critical that we continue planting at scale, now more than ever before. Thanks to our strong connection with planting partners, the Arbor Day Foundation can keep pace with the increasing need — while consistently ensuring that the right trees are planted in the right places.

Plant Trees Now

Our Roots Run Deep

We have accomplished quite a bit in the last 50 years. Learn about the major milestones we’ve met since 1972.

  • 1972

    Arbor Day Foundation
    is formed

    Arbor Day, the nation’s tree planting holiday, was first celebrated in 1872. The Arbor Day Foundation was created 100 years later to carry out its mission on a year-round basis.

  • 1976

    Tree City USA® Begins

    A partnership with the USDA Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters, Tree City USA was founded to encourage cities nationwide to care for and celebrate their urban forests. In its first year, 46 cities participated; today more than 3,600 communities are recognized.

  • 1977

    Membership Program Launches

    Arbor Day Foundation membership program launches, with an offer of 10 free trees. Today, thanks to our members, trees are being planted in yards and forests across the country and around the globe.

  • 1990

    Partnership with the U.S. Forest Service Begins

    This longstanding collaboration between the Arbor Day Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service ensures that trees are planted in America’s national forests in need of reforestation.

  • 1993

    Lied Lodge Opens at Arbor Day Farm®

    The opening of Lied Lodge created a new hub for rest, relaxation, and enjoyment of Arbor Day Farm’s 260 acres.

  • 2005

    Community Tree Recovery™ debuts

    Through the Community Tree Recovery program, residents who have lost trees to wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and insect infestation can receive free trees to plant in their yard.

  • 2008

    Tree Campus USA® Launches

    Currently known as Tree Campus® Higher Education, this program gets it start with 29 colleges and universities recognized for following best tree care practices on campus. Today, nearly 400 campuses are recognized.

  • 2016

    Alliance for Community Trees® Program

    This nationwide network — consisting of community-based organizations dedicated to planting and caring for trees — becomes a program of the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • 2017

    Global reach includes 26 countries

    Our work expands around the globe through tree planting and rain forest preservation. These efforts include trusted local partners and a dedication to reforestation where it’s needed most.

  • 2018

    Tree Cities of the World™ launches

    An expansion of Tree City USA, Tree Cities of the World was launched as a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The program celebrates global cities committed to growing their urban forests.

  • 2018

    Time for Trees® Initiative Announced

    This bold initiative aimed to plant 100 million trees and engage 5 million tree planters by the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day, April 2022. We not only accomplished this goal, but completed it one year early.

  • 2019

    #TeamTrees® Partnership

    Led by YouTube star Mr. Beast, this online movement funded more than 20 million trees in 56 days. The campaign was the largest crowdfunding effort in YouTube’s history and one of the fastest-growing environmental fundraising initiatives ever.

  • 2021

    Global reach includes 55 countries

    The Foundation increases its global partnerships and tree planting efforts, spreading our impact to every continent except Antarctica.



About Arbor Day

Known as the tree planter’s holiday, Arbor Day is a day for people to come together in recognition of the wonders of trees. Communities, schools, businesses, and individuals alike join together to plant commemorative trees, hand out free trees, provide education on tree planting and care, and celebrate all the benefits trees provide.

National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree planting times in their area. This celebration of trees, however, is not limited to the U.S. Countries around the world celebrate Arbor Day or a similar holiday dedicated to trees.

Celebrate Arbor Day

Find ideas and events.

History of Arbor Day

Learn how this holiday got its start.

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