The George O. White State Forest Nursery is situated at Licking.

In the country, suburbs, cities and all across Missouri, trees and forests are valuable to our health, wealth, environment, and happiness. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages all Missourians to celebrate the value of Missouri trees and forests on Arbor Days in April by planting native trees and practicing proper tree care.

National Arbor Day is recognized on the last Friday of April, which is April 25 this year. Each state determines its Arbor Day based on its unique climate and weather patterns. Missouri has been observing Arbor Day since 1886 when the Missouri General Assembly declared that the first Friday in April should be set aside for the appreciation and planting of trees.

This year’s Arbor Day in Missouri has been recognized through a proclamation by Gov. Jay Nixon as April 4. According to the proclamation: forests cover approximately one-third of the state; provide outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat, natural beauty and watersheds for stream and rivers; provide employment for 33,000 people who convert trees into essential products; contribute beauty and shade to urban, suburban and rural areas while creating a more pleasant and healthful environment; and Missouri will continue to benefit from its forests for succeeding generations through tree planting and conservation.

In celebration of Arbor Days and in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) “Trees for Tomorrow” program, MDC distributes nearly 100,000 native tree seedlings from its George O. White State Nursery at Licking to fourth-grade classes from more than 1,300 schools throughout the state each spring. MoDOT supports the production and distribution of the trees to offset the natural resources it may disturb during construction activities. The seedling distribution supports MDC’s Discover Nature Schools program, which provides grade-appropriate curriculum and outdoor, hand-on activities to help students learn about the importance of conservation.

Get more information from MDC on backyard tree care, including proper tree selection and planting tips, online at

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