NCTC announces plans for 150th Arbor Day celebration

Nebraska City News-Press

On April 30, 2021, Nebraska City will celebrate Arbor Day for the 150th time.

Originally proposed in 1872 by Nebraska City resident J. Sterling Morton as a day to focus on tree planting in a mostly barren state, Arbor Day has grown into an environmental powerhouse of a holiday, celebrated in all 50 states and in many countries around the world.

“Nebraskans have always been forward thinking and being the driving force behind a holiday like Arbor Day proves that,” said Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce Executive Director Amy Allgood. “The early residents of our state knew the importance of trees when it came to shade, shelter, and use for houses and furniture, and we’ve since built on that as we’ve learned about the environmental impact trees have.”

As the original home of Arbor Day, Nebraska City’s traditional plans for celebrating the day include city-wide tree plantings, a Children’s Program, and a parade.

This year, Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce hopes to spread the message of Arbor Day even further by expanding the celebration from one weekend to an entire year.

“We are going to kick off an entire year of Arbor Day this April and do something special every month until April 2022,” said Nebraska City Tourism and Promotions Coordinator Tammy Partsch.

“We get to actively promote trees and Nebraska City for a year and have fun doing it,” she said.

Nebraska City Tourism and Commerce is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to organize the year-long celebration.

Austin Mackrill, Vice President of Arbor Day Farm, said it was an easy marriage.

“The Arbor Day Foundation is a long-time champion of Arbor Day,” Mackrill said.

“Over the past 150 years it has been celebrated by Nebraskans, Americans, and people around the world,”  he said. “The holiday is a rich part of Nebraska City’s heritage and we at Arbor Day Farm are honored to be a part of this community.”

The year kicks off with the traditional Arbor Day Celebration the weekend of April 30 to May 2.

Plans are underway for a May golf tournament with a focus on course beautification.

June 5 and 6 is the date for the Radler Bike Festival based out of the Lied Lodge and Conference Center.

An all-day outdoor concert is planned for July 3.

Educational and informational panels and materials are also currently being created for display at the Nebraska State Fair in late August.

“We are trying to think of ways to reach all segments of the population,” said Partsch.

“We have events for families, for adults, for students,” she said.

“We don’t necessarily want to create a bunch of new events, but we do want to make sure the conversation about the importance of Arbor Day continues.” Mackrill agreed. “Over the next 150 years, we could not be more excited to be a part of this immense impact to plant and celebrate trees, collectively working toward a vision of a greener, healthier, and more equitable world.”

For details on all the 150 years of Arbor Day events from April 2021 to April 2022, visit

For those of you curious as to the chronology of the holiday celebrations, NCTC offers this explanation: The first Arbor Day was in 1872...which means the second one was in 1873, the third one was in 1874 and so on.

Counting that way, when we reach 2021, we will celebrate the 150th time the event has occurred. So, when we say 2021 is the 150th Annual Arbor Day, we are not wrong.

However, if you think about it in terms of, say, the way we count birthdays, 2022 is when Arbor Day turns 150.

That first Arbor Day in 1872 is counted as zero year.

From a marketing perspective, “1872-2022: 150 Years of Arbor Day!” is much easier for people to understand...but since we’ve been counting it the other way for, well, the last 149 years, we can’t really change that. make a short story long (apologies)... we have decided that we are going to celebrate for an entire year, much like Nebraska did for their sesquicentennial.

We will kick off the 150th Arbor Day in April 2021 and continue festivities of 150 years of Arbor Day until April 2022.