PARSIPPANY — The Township of Parsippany celebrated being named “Tree City USA” for the forty-seventh year on Arbor Day.
Second-grade students from Northvail Elementary School read the poem “The Giving Tree,” Second-grade students from Rockaway Meadow School recited “Trees of the Fragrant Forest,” and the second-grade class students from Lake Hiawatha Schoool recited “Trees.”
Representative Mikie Sherrill presented a “Certificate of Congressional Recognition” to the Township.
Council President Loretta Gragnani presented the Arbor Day Flag to Mayor James Barberio, Director of Public Works Department James Walsh, and Township Council members.
Parsippany has thirty-one parks throughout the Township. The park system has preserved over 800 acres ranging from the 0.32 Lake Hiawatha Park to the 352-acre Knoll Park. This total surpasses the nationally recognized standard of having one acre of par land for every 100 residents, The goal has been to provide recreation within walking distance of every resident.
The origin of Arbor Day dates back to the early 1870s in Nebraska. A journalist, Julius Sterling Morton moved to the state with his wife, Caroline, in 1854. As newcomers to the state, the couple purchased 160 acres and planted various trees and shrubs in a flat stretch of the desolate plain.
Morton also became the editor of the state’s first newspaper, which became a perfect platform for him to spread his knowledge of trees, and to stress their ecological importance within Nebraska. His message of tree life resonated with Nebraskans, many of whom recognized the lack of forestation in their community. Morton also became involved with the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.
On January 7, 1872, Morton proposed a day that would encourage all Nebraskans to plant trees in their community-Arbor Day was born.
The first-ever Arbor Day, held on April 10, 1872, was a success. Morton led the charge in the planting of approximately one million trees. Enthusiasm and engagement were certainly helped by the prizes awarded to those who planted trees correctly.
The national observance falls on the last Friday in April. And although Julius Morton died well before the holiday was given a formal day of observance across the country, he is still commemorated in Washington, D.C., with a statue dedicated to the “Father of Arbor Day” in the National Hall of Fame.