NEWS | Dec. 1, 2015

Joint Base Charleston celebrates Arbor Day

By Keith M. Thompson, Jr., conservation program manager JB Charleston

Each December, Joint Base Charleston celebrates Arbor Day. The day is an appreciation of trees and recognizes the benefits they provide.

Arbor Day was started by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 with the first observance being held April 10th..  Morton was a journalist who relocated to Nebraska from his home in Michigan. Upon settling in Nebraska, Morton realized his new home was a treeless plain, void of the lush vegetation to which he was accustomed. Morton set out to educate his neighbors about the benefits trees could provide to both the landscape and the economy. He planted trees to serve as wind breaks on his farm preventing   erosion. He also planted numerous fruit trees for local consumption. 

Trees provide shelter and shade, building materials, habitat and food for wildlife and, among other things, are aesthetically pleasing. They also help to moderate the climate, improve air quality and conserve water.

Following the example set by Nebraska on that April day in 1872, all states now celebrate Arbor Day. Traditionally, Arbor Day in South Carolina is observed on the first Friday of December. 

Joint Base Charleston has always placed great emphasis on trees both in our forested areas and in urban settings. There is a tree ordinance in place which provides guidance for managing trees on base. Trees requiring removal for construction or other projects are closely scrutinized by the base forester and the natural resources staff. When trees are removed there is a requirement that they be replaced with new trees of the same or similar species that are indigenous to the area. Additionally, Joint Base Charleston manages a commercial forestry program. As trees are harvested, they are replaced, where possible, with long leaf pine trees, thereby restoring the natural long leaf pine ecosystem.

To commemorate Arbor Day this year, 628 CES is planting several large live oaks on the grounds of the CES administrative headquarters building. These trees are being placed in a prominent position adjacent to the building's main entrance. They will serve as constant reminders of the importance of trees in our daily lives while providing an attractive improvement to the entrance of the building. 

As Arbor Day approaches, take a few moments to notice the trees around you and do your part to ensure their health. Prune as necessary, remove diseased or hazardous trees and plant new trees to enhance the environment. 

Joint Base Charleston has been designated by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA for 21 years, a true testament to excellence in urban forestry management. For more information on Arbor Day, visit www.arborday.org.