Suggestive programs for special day exercises/Arbor Day

(By courtesy of The Intelligence.)


"A tree is a deposit in the bank of Nature which she always repays a thousandfold,"

[Date specified by Governor.]

Responsive ExerciseScripture Reading.

SongArbor Day March.

HeadingThe History of Arbor Day.

RecitationWhat do we plant?

RecitationWhat will you be?

SongArbor Day.

Exercise for Four Children We Love the Trees.

RecitationWhich Tree is Best?

Exercise for Eight GirlsHistoric Trees.

Recitation[1]Planting of the Apple Tree.

SongOur Mother’s Three.

RecitationThe Tree Planter.

ReadingA Wonderful Tree.

RecitationThe Forest Hymn.

EssayBryant, the Poet of Trees.

SongThe Grand Old Trees.

Reproduction ExerciseWhat We owe Trees.

Exercise for Four BoysWhat shall It be?

SongPrayer for Our State.



Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him from the heights.


Praise the Lord from the earth. Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind fulfilling His word. Mountains and all bills: fruitful trees and all cedars.


Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.


The trees of the Lord are full of sap, the trees of Lebanon which he planted where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.


Thus with the Lord God; “ I will also take the highest-branch of the high cedar, and will set it: I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent.”


In the mountains of the height of Israel will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit and be a goodly cedar; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.


And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree, exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I, the Lord, have spoken and done it.


And now also the axe is laid upon the motor the trees: therefore, every tree which ringeth forth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.

Note.—Let the responses for school be written on the board in large enough characters for all to see.



[Air:—Marching Through Georgia]

Celebrate the Arbor Day
With march and song and cheer,
For the season comes to us
But once in every year;
Should we not remember it
And make the mem’ry dear
Memories sweet for this May day.

Chorus—Hurrah! Hurrah! The Arbor Day is here:
Hurrah! Hurrah! It gladdens every year.
So we plant a young tree on blithesome Arbor Day,
While we are singing for gladness.

Flow’rs are blooming all around,
Are blooming on this day;
And the trees with verdure clad,
Welcome the month of May,
Making earth a garden fair
To hail the Arbor Day,
Clothing all nature with gladness.


(From the Department.)

We are told that the custom of tree planting is an old one among the Germans, who in the rural districts practice a commendable habit of having each member of the family plant a tree at Whitsuntide, which comes forty days after Easter.

The old Mexican Indians also plant trees on certain days of the year when the moon is full, naming them after their children; and the ancient Aztecs are said to have planted a tree every time a child was born, giving it the name of the child .

But to the Hon. J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska, Secretary of Agriculture in the Cleveland cabinet, belongs the honor of instituting our American Arbor Day. It was at an annual meeting of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, held in the city of Lincoln, January 4, 1872, that Mr. Morton introduced the following resolution:

Resolved, That Wednesday the 10th day of April, 1572, be and the same is hereby especially set apart and consecrated for tree planting in the state of Nebraska, and the State Board of Agriculture hereby name it Arbor Day, and to urge upon the people of the state the vital importance of tree planting, hereby offer a special premium of one hundred dollars to the agricultural society of that county in Nebraska which shall upon that day plant properly the largest number of trees; and a farm library of twenty-five dollars worth of books to that person, who on that day, shall plant properly, in Nebraska, the greatest number of trees

After a little debate as to the name, some preferring Silvan instead of Arbor, the resolution was unanimously adopted. A second resolution was likewise adopted, asking the newspapers of the state to keep the matter constantly before the people until the appointed day; and the result was the planting of over a million trees in Nebraska on April 10, 1872.

From this beginning on that western prairie the movement has spread in an ever widening circle whose circumference today sweeps from the Atlantic to the Pacific, while all appreciate the poet’s thought:

“What does he plant who plants a tree?
He plants in sap and leaf and wood,
In love of home and loyalty,
And far-cast thought of civic good,
His blessings of the neighborhood,—
Who in the hollow of his hand
Holds all the growth of all our land:
A Nation’s growth from sea to sea
Stirs in his heart who plants a tree.”


Which is the best of all the trees?
Answer me, children all, if you please.
That for a hundred years has stood,
The graceful elm or the stately ash,
Or the aspen, whose leaflets shimmer and flash?

Is it the solemn and gloomy pine,
With its million needles so sharp and fine?
Ah no! The tree that I love best,
It buds and blossoms not with the rest;
No summer sun on its fruit has smiled,
But the ice and snow are around it piled;
But still it will bloom and bear fruit for me—
My winter bloomer! My Christmas tree!

Youths’ Companion.


What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship which will cross the sea.
We plant the mast to carry the sails:
We plant the plank to withstand the gales;
The keel, the keelson, and beam and knee:
We plant the ship when we plant the tree.
What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the house for you and me.
We plant the rafter, the shingles, the floors;
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams and siding, all parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
A thousand things that we daily see.
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country’s flag:
We plant the shade from the hot sun free:
We plant all these when we plant the tree.



First Child
I love a tree in spring,
When the first green leaves come out.
And the birds build their nests and carol
Their sweet songs round about.

Second Child
I love a tree in summer,
When, in the noon-tide heat.
The reapers lie in its shadow,
On the greensward, cool and sweet.

Third Child
I love a tree in autumn,
When Frost, the painter old,
Has touched with his brush its branches,
And left them all crimson and gold.

Fourth Child
I love a tree in winter.
Mid snow and ice and cloud,
Waving its long, bare branches
In the north wind, wailing loud.

Let us plant a tree by the wayside,
Plant it with smiles and with tears,
A shade for some weary wanderer,
A hope for the coming years.




In history we often see
The record of a noted tree.
We’ll now some history pages turn
And note what trees we there discern:
And foremost of this famous band
We think the Charter Oak should stand.
We love to read the story o’er,
How Andrus came from England’s shore
As governor in this new land,
And ruled it with a tyrant hand;
How, when he came to Hartford town
Demanding with a haughty frown
The charter of the people’s rights.
All suddenly out went the lights;
And, e’er again they reappeared,
The charter to their hearts endeared
Lay safely in this hollow tree.
Guard of the people’s liberty.
All honor, then, to Wadsworth’s name,
Who gave the Charter Oak its fame.


Another very famous tree
Was called the Elm of Liberty.
Beneath its shade the patriots bold
For tyranny their hatred told.
Upon its branches high and free
Was often hung in effigy
Such persons as the patriots thought
Opposed the freedom that they sought.
In war time, oft beneath this tree
The people prayed for victory;
And when at last the old tree fell
There sadly rang each Boston bell.


In Cambridge there is standing yet
A tree we never should forget;
For here, equipped with sword and gun,
There stood our honored Washington,
When of the little patriot band
For freedom’s cause he took command.
Despite its age—three hundred years—
Its lofty head it still uprears;
Its mighty arms extending wide.
It stands our country’s boasted pride.


When, in spite of pride, pomp, and boast,
Burgoyne surrendered with his host.
And then was brought to Albany
A prisoner of war to be.
In gratitude for his defeat.
That day, upon the city street
An elm was planted, which they say
Still stands in memory of that day.


Within the Quaker City’s realm,
There stood the famous Treaty Elm.
Here, with its sheltering boughs above.
Good [[Author:William Penn}}, in peace and love
The Indians met, and there agreed
Upon that treaty which we read
Was never broken, though ho oath
Was taken—justice guiding both.
A monument now marks the ground
Where once this honored tree was found.


Within a city of the dead,
Near Bunker Hill, just at the head
Of Cotton Mather’s grave, there stands
A weeping willow which fond hands
Brought from Napoleon’s grave, they say,
In St. Helena, far away.


I’ll tell you of a Sycamore,
And how two poets’ names it bore;
Upon Ohio’s soil it stands,
’Twas placed there by the childish hands
Of sister poets, and is known
As Alice and [[Author:Phoebe Cary}}’s own.
One day, when little girls, they found
A sapling lying on the ground;
They planted it with tenderest care
Beside this pleasant highway, where
It grew and thrived and came to be
To all around, the Cary Tree.


In New York City proudly stand
Thirteen monarchs, lofty, grand.
Their branches tow’ring toward the sun
Are monuments of Hamilton,
Who planted them in pride that we
Had won our cause and liberty—
A tribute, history relates,
To the original thirteen states.


We reverence these famous trees.
What better monuments than these?
How fitting on each Arbor Day
That we a grateful tribute pay
To poet, statesman, author, friend.
To one whose deeds our hearts commend,
As lovingly we plant a tree
Held sacred to his memory;
A fresh memorial, as each year
New life and buds and leaves appear,—
A living monumental tree,
True type of immortality!


[Air.—Battle Hymn of the Republic.]

Come now and raise a gladsome song to Mother Nature dear:
Again the flowers laugh in the fields, again the birds sing clear:
And we who love God’s bright, fair World should let that love appear,
On this glad Arbor Day.

Chorus:—Mother Nature, hear our singing;
Take the praises we are bringing;
May they swell, forever ringing,
As on this Arbor Day.

And let us too join hearts in praise of our dear native land.
Our Mother Country. she to whom we all pledge heart and hand.
A peerless queen she truly is: so may she ever stand.
As on this Arbor Day,

Chorus:—Mother Country, hear our singing;
Take the praises we are bringing;
May they swell, forever ringing,
As on this Arbor Day.

And to our Alma Matter, our dear Mother School as well,
We sing to show our loyalty, we would her virtues tell:
She teaches us the truth of life: we pledge to heed them well,
As on this glad Arbor Day. -

Chorus:—Alma Mater, hear our singing
Take the praises we are bringing;
May they swell, forever ringing,
As on this Arbor Day.

Our school we love, our happy land, and Nature’s beauty rare.
Three mothers they, and in their weal we each have some true share:
So plant we trees, salute the flag, and faith and fealty swear,
On this glad Arbor Day.

Chorus:—Mother Nature, hear our singing;
Take the praises we are bringing;
May they swell, forever ringing,
As on this Arbor Day.

—Written for New York Annual.


Dear little tree that we plant today
What will you be when we’re old and gray?
“The savings bank of the squirrel and mouse,
For robbin and wren an apartment house,
The dressing-room of the butterfly’s ball,
The locusts and katydid’s concert hall;
The school-boy’s ladder in pleasant June,
The school-girl’s tent in the July noon.
And my leaves shall whisper them merrily
A tale of the children who planted me.”


[Air:—“ Upidee.”]

O, Arbor Day is here at last,
  Tra, la, la! Tra, la, la!
The cold of winter now is past,
  Tra, la, la, la, la!
Now all the trees are green and bright
The flowers are dancing in the light;
Birds are singing in the trees,
  Tra, la, la! Tra, la, la!
Boughs are swaying in the breeze,
  Tra, la, la, la, la!

The skies are clear, the skies are blue,
  Tra, la, la! Tra, la, la!
The trees and flowers are drest anew,
  Tra, la, la, la, la!
Their sweetest songs the birds now trill,
And brooks go tumbling down the hill;
To the woods now haste away,
  Tra, la, la! Tra, la, la!
This is happy Arbor Day,
  Tra, la, la, la, la!

Journal of Education.


Did you ever hear of a tree bearing glue, towels, cloth, tinder, and bread? There is just such a wonder; it is found on the Pacific islands and is called the bread-fruit tree.

It is about as tall as a three-story house, and the branches come out straight from the tree like so many arms. They are covered with leaves nearly two feet long and deeply gashed at the edges, while half hidden among them are the fruits, growing like apples on short stems, but larger and having a thick, yellow rind.

This fruit is like bread; and it is in season during eight months of the year, the natives finding a good living in it. They gather it while it is green, and bake it in an oven. Scraping off its outer blackened crust, they come to the loaf, which is very much like nice white bread; but it must be eaten soon after baking, else it grows harsh and loses its pleasant taste.

As for glue, it oozes from the trunk of the tree and is found useful for many purposes; the leaves make excellent towels for the few natives who care to use them, and from the inner bark of the tree a kind of coarse cloth can be made. Besides this, its dried blossoms are used for tinder in lighting fires, and the wood is in great demand for building purposes.

With a few of these wonderful trees in the front yard, housekeeping ought to be an easy matter.



We are building for the future;
Every loyal youth and lad
In his May-time seed or sapling
Founds a dwelling green and glad.
Where the song birds of the morning
Round their cradle-homes will play.
And the rain will store its treasure
For the streams that wear away.



Come, let us plant the apple tree.
Cleave the tough greensward with the spade,
Wide let its hollow bed be made;
There gently lay the roots, and there
Sift the dark mould with kindly care,
And press it o’er them tenderly,
As, round the sleeping infant’s feet
We softly fold the cradle sheet;
So plant we the apple tree.

What plant we in this apple tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt and sing and hide her nest;
We plant, upon the sunny lea,
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower
When we plant the apple tree.

What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs,
To load the May wind’s restless wings,
When, from the orchard row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;
A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl’s silent room,.
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom.
We plant with the apple tree.

What plant we in this apple tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June
And redden in the August noon,
And drop, when, gentle airs come by.
That fan the blue September sky.
While children come, with cries of glee.
And seek them where the fragrant grass
Betrays their bed to those who pass,—
At the foot of the apple tree.

And when, above this apple tree.
The winter stars are quivering bright
And winds go howling through the night.
Girls, whose young eyes o’erlow with mirth.
Shall peel its fruit by cottage hearth,
And guests in prouder homes shall see,
Heaped with the grape of Cithra’s vine
And golden orange of the lime.
The fruit of the apple tree.

“ Who planted this old apple tree?
The children of that distant day
Thus to some aged man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:—
“A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
’Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes.
On planting the apple tree.”


It is pleasant to remember on Arbor Day that Bryant, our oldest American poet and the father of our American literature, is especially the poet of trees. He grew up among the solitary hills of western Massachusetts, where the woods were his nursery and the trees his earliest comrades. The solemnity of the forest breathes through all his verse, and he had always, even in the city, a grave, rustic air, as of a man who heard the babbling brooks and to whom the trees told their secrets.


Father, Thy hand
Hath reared these venerable columns; Thou
Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down
Upon the naked earth, and forthwith rose
All these fair ranks of trees. They, in Thy sun,
Budded and shook their green leaves in Thy breeze,
And shot toward heaven. The century-living crow
Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died
Among their branches, till, at last, they stood,
As they now stand, massy and tall and dark.
Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold
Communion with his Maker. These dim vaults.
These winding aisles, of human pomp or pride
Report not. No fantastic carvings show
The boast of our vain race to change the form
Of Thy fair works. But Thou art here—Thou fill’st
The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds
That run along the summit of these trees
In music; Thou art in the cooler breath
That from the inmost darkness of the place
Comes, scarcely felt; the barky trunks, the ground,
The fresh, moist ground, are all instinct with Thee.

Here is continual worship. Nature, here,
In the tranquillity that Thou dost love,
Enjoys Thy presence. Noiselessly around,
From perch to perch, the solitary bird
Passes; and yon clear spring, that ’midst its herbs,
Wells softly forth and, wondering, steeps the roots
Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale
Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left
Thyself without a witness, in these shades
Of Thy perfections. Grandeur, strength, and grace
Are here to speak of Thee. This mighty oak—
By whose immovable stem I stand and seem
Almost annihilated—not a prince
In all that proud old world beyond the deep,
E’er wore his crown as loftily as he
Wears the green coronal of leaves with which
Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root
Is beauty such as blooms not in the glare
Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower.
With scented breath and look so like a smile,
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mold,
An emanation of the indwelling Life,
A visible token of the upholding Love,
That are the soul of this wide universe.*********Be it ours to meditate
In these calm shades, Thy milder majesty.
And to the beautiful order of Thy works
Learn to conform the order of our lives.


Children have you seen the budding
Of the trees in valleys low?
Have you watched it creeping, creeping,
Up the mountain, soft and slow?
Weaving there a plush-like mantle,
Brownish, grayish, reddish green,
Changing, changing—daily, hourly,
Till it smiles in emerald sheen?

Have you watched the shades so varied,
From the graceful little white birch.
Faint and tender, to the balsam’s
Evergreen, so dark and rich?
Have you seen the quaint mosaics,
Gracing all the mountain-sides,
Where they, mingling’, intertwining.
Sway like softest mid-air tides?

Have you seen the autumn frostings.
Spread in all the leafage bright,—
Frostings of the rarest color.
Red and yellow, dark and light?
Have you seen the glory painted
On the mountain, valley, hill.
When the landscape, all illumined.
Blazes forth his taste and skill?

Have you seen the foliage dropping,
Tender cling, as loth to leave
Mother-trees that taught them deftly
All their warp and woof to weave?
Have you seen the leafless branches
Tossing wildly ’gainst the blue?
Have you seen the soft gray beauty
Of their wintry garments’ hue?

Have you thought the resurrection
Seen in nature year by year
Is a symbol of our rising
In a higher, holier sphere?
Children, ye are buds maturing;
Make your autumn rich and grand.
That your winter be a passage
Through the gates to Glory-land.


[Air:—“ America.”]

God bless our noble State,
And make her doubly great,
In progress grand,
Nor fear to right the wrong,
Protect among the throng.
The weak as well as strong.
By her command.

Long may her banner bright,
Wave in the morning light.
And all her laws.
Approved by justice stand,—
Her sons a manly band.
Her daughters hand in hand,
The home her cause.


[Tune:—There’s Music in the Air.]

We love the grand old trees,—
With the oak, their royal king.
And the maple, forest queen,
We to her our homage bring.
And the elm with stately form,
Long withstanding wind and storm,
Pine, low whispering to the breeze,
O, we love the grand old trees!

We love the grand old trees,—
The cedar bright above the snow,
The poplar straight and tall,
And the willow weeping low.
Butternut, and walnut, too,
Hickory so staunch and true,
Basswood blooming for the bees,
O, we love the grand old trees!

We love the grand old trees,—
The tulip branching broad and high,
The beech with shining robe.
And the birch so sweet and shy.
Aged chestnuts, fair to see.
Holly bright with Christmas glee.
Laurel crown for victories.
O, we love the grand old trees!

Journal of Education.


First boy
 If we are all to choose and say
 What trees we’d like to plant to-day,
 Seems to me none can be
 Half so good as a Christmas tree!
 For surely even a baby knows
 That’s where the nicest candy grows.
  Candy on a Christmas tree,
  That's what pleases me!

Second boy
 :Planted out, ’twould never bear—
 But, after all, why should we care?
 The richest thing is what we bring
 From sugar maples in the spring;
 So now I’ll set a maple here.
 For feast and frolic every year.
 Sugar from a maple tree.
 That's what pleases me!

Third boy
 Sweets are good most any day,
 But as for trees, I’m bound to say.
 A shag-bark tall is best of all
 When once the nuts begin to fall;
 And so a hickory tree I’ll set.
 And piles of fun and nuts I’ll get.
 Nuts from a hickory tree.
 That’s what pleases me!

Fourth boy
 I shall plant an apple tree.
 That’s the best of all for me;
 And each kind to suit my mind,
 On this one with grafts I’ll bind.
 Ripe or green, the whole year through,
 Pie or dumpling, bake or stew,
 Every way I like ’em best,
 And I’ll treat the rest.

Youths’ Companion.



(Sixth and seventh grade children may read and reproduce.)

Did you ever stop to think how much we owe to trees? Let us see.

You have learned in school that trees purify the air by taking out of it gases which are hurtful to man, and also that they purify the springs of water at their roots; consequently, you understand why it is that terrible fevers have so often followed the cutting down of forests in a new country. But do you know, too, that the health-giving quality of trees is only one of their many virtues? Not the least of these is the prevention of floods, and the droughts which follow floods. You will wonder how this is. Now you know if you hang out a piece of wet cloth in the sun and wind it will become quickly dry. The water in it has evaporated. So it is with the open spaces where there are no trees. And the moisture, which has all at once been absorbed by the air, is discharged in torrents instead of in gentle rains, as would be the case if there were trees and and it was absorbed gradually. Here again comes in the question of health, for floods and droughts are as hurtful to man as the soil which suffers from them.

A way in which trees help us greatly, which is not often thought of, is by preventing so great extremes of heat and cold as there would otherwise be. Your geographies tell you how the ocean equalizes the climate of places upon it. It is upon the same principle that trees modify climate, though in a lesser degree.

Their effect upon desert land should be spoken of as well. It has been found that, where trees have been planted to keep off the winds of the ocean from such land, in a short time crops could be raised. This is because the winds take up moisture very quickly. When they cease to blow, therefore, or blow less hard, the rainfall is increased. Indeed, it has been thought that even the terrible Sahara desert itself, might be made fertile by planting trees. It is known that springs of water in the oases disappear if the trees are for any reason destroyed, and also that new springs appear in the spots where they have been made to grow.

None, perhaps, can appreciate so fully their loveliness and charm as those who have crossed the desert plains of the great West. How the passengers on the overland train crowd about the little plats of grass (carefully guarded by iron fences), where trees are growing, while such exclamations as "O, don't they look good?" “How it rests one to see those trees!” “I never appreciated trees before!” are heard on every side.

Now of their use as homes for birds and animals: See that nest on the top bough? Hear those robins twittering from the leafy sprays above our heads, while from bough to bough dart the nimble squirrels, peering at us with sharp eyes as much as to say,—“O, you poor people, you have to be shut up in boards and bricks and roofings. You are to be pitied! Don’t you envy us, and wish you were as free as we?” And the woodpecker taps, taps away on the old trunk industriously getting his dinner. Ah, these, our lesser brothers and sisters, would be bereft indeed were they deprived of their leafy habitations!


On Arbor Day some thought should be given to a study of the best plans for beautifying school grounds and adorning school buildings, as well as to the planting of trees and the proper care of those already added. If the tree planting is attended by some ceremony, and the tree perhaps named to commemorate some noted hero or statesman, the children will be more apt to take personal note of its growth. And beyond question our boys and girls should be more familiar with the habits of the abundant tree growth all about them.

It would be well if the teacher should often propound such queries as the following:

Is bark thicker on one side of a tree than another?
How many distinct layers can you find in bark?
What is the purpose of the different layers?
What commercial products are made from certain barks?
Are there any barks having medicinal value?
How many purposes has birch bark served?
Why are hemlock and oak bark used in tanning leather?

The custom in some schools is to have the tree planting in the morning and the exercises in the evening. In the latter case it makes a beautiful closing scene to have the “ Prayer for Our State ” given by little girls dressed in white. An impressive conclusion to the tree planting is the singing of the following words written by the author of America and sung to the same tune:—


Joy for the sturdy trees
Fanned by each fragrant breeze,
Lovely they stand!
The song birds o’er them thrill,
They shade each tinkling rill,
They crown each swelling hill.
Lowly or grand.

Plant them by stream and way,
Plant where the children play
And toilers rest;
In every verdant vale,
On every sunny swale—
Whether to grow or fail,
God knoweth best.

Select the strong, the fair.
Plant them with earnest care,
No toil is vain.
Plant in a fitter place,
Where, like a lovely face,
Set in some sweeter grace.
Change may prove gain.

God will His blessings send,
All things on Him depend.
His loving care
Clings to each leaf and flower,
Like ivy to its tower.
His presence and His power
Are everywhere.

  1. Note—The Apple blossom was adopted as the “State Flower” of Michigan on the motion of Wm Harris, representative from the Antrim District.