Arbor Day Programs


In Tennessee, Arbor Day is officially celebrated on the first Friday in March. Numerous local communities and schools hold Arbor Day and Tree City USA recognition ceremonies throughout the year.

J. Sterling Morton, a newspaper journalist, is honored as the father of Arbor Day.  He and his wife Caroline were nature lovers, and shortly after they moved to the barren plains of Nebraska they began planting trees.  Sterling wrote articles encouraging local organizations to help him.

Morton's vision grew with passing years.  In 1872, he spoke at the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture meeting, proposing a statewide tree planting holiday for the month of April. The first Arbor Day in Nebraska was a huge success, with over a million trees planted.  Three years later Sterling Morton was honored when his birthday, April 22, was selected as the official date for Arbor Day.

The Arbor Day idea spread to other states.  In 1875, Tennessee became one of the first states to adopt this special day.  In 1925, the Tennessee legislature set "Bird, Flower and Arbor Day" on the first Friday in April.  In 1946 it was changed to the first Friday in March.  This law calls for educators, civic societies and government officials to create "a better understanding of nature and the importance of protecting wildlife, planting and cultivating flowers, and setting and protecting trees."

As we celebrate Arbor Day in Tennessee in 2024, we are proud to recognize the following Tennessee communities, utility providers, and educational institutions for their investments in our state's future:

Tree City USA Communities
Crossville , TN
Germantown , TN
Sevierville , TN
Brentwood , TN
Signal Mountain , TN
Rogersville , TN
Alcoa , TN
Fairview , TN
Sweetwater , TN
Gatlinburg , TN
Cleveland , TN
Chattanooga , TN
Morristown , TN
Clarksville , TN
Bristol , TN
Maryville , TN
Bartlett , TN
Murfreesboro , TN
Sewanee , TN
Clinton , TN
Rocky Top , TN
Pigeon Forge , TN
Franklin , TN
Livingston , TN
Bell Buckle , TN
Johnson City , TN
Pulaski , TN
Norris , TN
Lakeland , TN
Athens , TN
Knoxville , TN
Memphis , TN
Town of Farragut , TN
Kingsport , TN
Nashville , TN
Lewisburg , TN
Tullahoma , TN
Oak Ridge , TN
Martin , TN
Cookeville , TN
Jefferson City , TN
City of Winchester , TN
Pittman Center , TN
Collierville , TN

Tree Cities of the World Communities
Germantown, TN

Tree Line USA Utility Providers
Morristown Utility Systems
Cleveland Utilities
CDE Lightband
Knoxville Utilities Board
Appalachian Electric Cooperative
City of Oak Ridge Electrical Department
Gibson Electric Membership Corp
Tullahoma Utilities Authority
Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation
Bristol Tennessee Essential Services
Pulaski Electric System
Clinton Utilities Board
Sevier County Electric System
Nashville Electric Service
Cookeville Electric Department

Tree Campus K-12 Schools
Algood Middle School
Mt. Horeb Elementary School

Tree Campus Higher Education Institutions
Belmont University
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Tennessee Wesleyan University
Austin Peay State University
Tennessee Tech University
University of Tennessee Martin
Columbia State Community College