NEWBERRY — City staff, along with members of the Newberry College Student Government Association, planted a dogwood tree near Holland Hall on the college’s campus Monday in observance of Arbor Day, which is Dec. 6.
Arbor Day is a national holiday created to recognize the importance of trees. Celebrated every year on the last Friday in December in South Carolina, the most common way people celebrate is to get together in groups to plant trees.
The tree was planted early because Arbor Day falls on an exam day for students at Newberry College, said Matt DeWitt, assistant city manager for the City of Newberry.
The day itself was the idea of Julius Sterling Morton, a Nebraskan journalist who later became the U.S. Agriculture Secretary under President Grover Cleveland. Morton was an enthusiastic promoter of tree planting and had long championed the idea of a day dedicated to planting trees.
Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska on April 10, 1874, following a proclamation by Gov. Robert W. Furnas. In less than a decade, the idea for the holiday caught on in other states until, by 1882, its observance had become a national event. Nebraska made Arbor Day a legal holiday in 1885, and an estimated one million trees were planted during the first Arbor Day.
“We appreciate the relationship we have with Newberry College, including the student government and student body president Rachel Williams,” said Mayor Foster Senn. “The tree planting gave us an opportunity to do a project together, and we added a dogwood to the beautiful college campus.”
“In celebration of Arbor Day, thank you to the city of Newberry for the wonderful dogwood tree,” said Maurice Scherrens, president of Newberry College.