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April 21, 2015

MADISON -- The public is invited to attend the planting of a large red oak tree near the corner of Main Street and Pinckney Street on the capitol square in Madison at noon on April 24, 2015 to mark the 132nd celebration of Arbor Day in Wisconsin.

"People often ask when is the best time to plant a tree?" said Jeff Roe, urban forestry team leader with the Department of Natural Resources. "My standard answer is 'yesterday,' but if you didn't plant one yesterday, plant one on Arbor Day."

Wisconsin celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, the same day Arbor Day is celebrated nationally. The first Arbor Day was declared in 1872, when Nebraska newspaper editor J. Sterling Morton convinced the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture to accept a resolution by him "to set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and fruit." Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states and around the world.

"Wisconsinites take pride in the forests where we live and play--from the majestic white oak in your backyard to the vast pines of the Northwoods. The tree canopy where we live provides many benefits, including reducing storm water runoff, lowering air temperatures, reducing air pollution, enhancing property values, improving health and wellbeing and the aesthetic benefits," Roe said.

"Threats to the urban forest posed by the emerald ash borer mean that the urgency to plant trees and continue to receive all of these benefits is exponentially increasing," Roe said. "The management of this pest is resulting in the removal of many ash trees in urban and rural environments."

State Forester Paul DeLong and other special guests will be on hand at the Capitol as The Bruce Company uses a tree spade truck to plant the large red oak. Smokey Bear will make an appearance to remind school children and other event participants that "Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires!" Madison musician Ken Lonnquist will also be on hand to lead the crowd in songs celebrating the benefits of trees.

The public is invited to join in celebrating Arbor Day by participating in a tree planting ceremony--either at the state capitol or at one of the hundreds of local Arbor Day ceremonies that will be taking place throughout the state on April 24 -- or by planting a tree on their own property.

For more about Arbor Day, search the DNR website,, for keywords "Arbor Day."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Dierickx, DNR urban forestry specialist, 608-275-3227

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

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