I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
~Robert Frost, "Birches"
Today is the 148th anniversary of Arbor Day, and of all places its story starts in the old Nebraska Territory. J. Sterling Morton was a journalist and newspaper editor who'd moved out West from Detroit. He and so many pioneers missed the many benefits of trees that they had in the East so they started planting them. And planting them. One million trees by the time of the first Arbor Day alone. Morton's son, Joy, would go on to start the Morton Salt Company and founded our very own Morton Arboretum!
We're celebrating Arbor Day with Morton Arboretum, which today launches a very 21st Century way to mark the occasion--the Tweeting Tulip Tree of course! The tree will be sharing its life experiences, tree and plant care advice and the cool ways scientists study trees.
Tulip trees are native to the Chicago Wilderness region, found in a few pockets like Indiana Dunes. They are a medium to large tree, often 90 feet tall, with clear straight trunk (a closeup of its flower is in the image above). Their leaves are about 5 inches long, four-lobed and outlined like a tulip. It's always a delight to happen upon these trees!
What trees are you seeing today? What's budding or flowering in your neighborhood? Share your sightings with #NatureLovesChicago or #NaturalezaAmaChicago, or comment here.