BIRDSEY G NORTHROP YALE COLLEGE & DIVINITY SCHOOL GRAD 1841 CDV PHOTO ARBOR DAY
BIRDSEY G NORTHROP YALE COLLEGE & DIVINITY SCHOOL GRAD 1841 CDV PHOTO ARBOR DAY:
An original CDV photograph measuring approximately 4 1/4 x 2 3/8 inches. Thanks for looking.
Everyone who is familiar with Arbor Day is familiar with thestory about J. Sterling Morton
(1832-1902), the former Governor of the Nebraska Territory.Governor Morton is generally
credited with initiating an annual day of tree planting inhis home state. He saw the vast soils of
Nebraska being depleted of moisture and nutrients, andrecognized that trees would serve as a
means of conserving soil moisture and as a windbreak.
You might not be as familiar with Connecticut's Arbor Dayfounder, Birdsey Grant Northrop.
Among Mr. Northrop’s contributions was the involvement ofschoolchildren in this annual event.
Mr. Northrop also turned Arbor Day into the ceremonial eventthat laid the foundation of this
now well-established tradition.
Mr. Northrop was born in Kent, Connecticut, July 18, 1817and educated at Yale and Yale
Divinity School. In his diverse career he was a clergyman,educator, state official (in both
Connecticut and Massachusetts), author, and lecturer. Hepublished extensively on forestry
education and town planning, and was a prominent lecturer inhis day. Mr. Northrop is also
credited with establishing several village improvementsocieties, such as the Village
Improvement Association of Wethersfield, begun in 1883.Above all else, however, throughout
his entire life, Mr Northrop was a lover of trees.
In 1877, during his tenure as Secretary of the ConnecticutBoard of Education, Mr. Northrop
traveled to Europe to study schools. His report on trees inEurope, published in 1879 as
"Forestry in Europe", gained the attention of theState Board of Agriculture in Connecticut. The
State Board then requested an investigation and report onpromoting forestry in Connecticut. As
a result of this investigation, the State Legislaturedeclared in 1886 that "The Governor shall
annually, in the spring, designate by official proclamationan Arbor Day, to be observed in the
schools and for economic tree planting".
The first official Arbor Day celebration occurred thefollowing year, on April 29, 1887, led by
Governor Phineas C. Lounsbury. Arbor Day celebrations havecontinued on an annual basis
since then, held intially anywhere between the first a weekof April and the second week of May.
In 1970, President Nixon established the last Friday ofApril as the official "National Arbor
Day". Connecticut followed the President’s lead shortlythereafter.
In 1883, Northrop retired from the State Board of Educationand spent his retirement years
promoting his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message toother states and even foreign
countries. In that same year, the American ForestryAssociation made Northrup the Chairman of
the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide.
At the spry age of 78, Northrop took his message to Japan.While there he convinced the
Japanese Minister of Education to adopt the Arbor Dayconcept. He also brought his enthusiasm
for Arbor Day to Australia, Canada and Europe.
Three years later, in April 28, 1898, Birdsey Grant Northroppassed away at the age of 81 in
Clinton, Connecticut. Recognized in his day as a majorleader in forestry education and tree
appreciation, the contributions Northrop made live on tothis day. source:wwwdotctdotgov
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