Mistletoe State Park is sponsoring an Arbor Day essay contest for area students, with prizes awarded to the top entrants in each category.
Entries must be a one-page written essay on the difference that trees make in our lives, said Marilyn Grau, senior corps project director. Essays must be received in the park office no later than Feb. 13.
A panel of three judges -- a forester, an English teacher and a journalist -- will judge the essays, and prizes will be awarded Feb. 20, Arbor Day.
"Depending on the number of entries we have, we might choose several winners in different age categories," said Grau.
It was on Jan. 4, 1872, that Nebraskan J. Sterling Morton urged his fellow pioneers to join him in proposing a tree-planting holiday.
The date for the first Arbor Day celebration was set for April 10, 1872, with prizes offered to counties and individuals for properly planting the most trees that day, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
It is estimated that more than a million trees were planted in Nebraska that year.
"Today, the most common date for the state observances is the last Friday in April, and several U.S. presidents have proclaimed a national Arbor Day on that date," according to the Arbor Day Foundation Web site. "But a number of state Arbor Days are at other times to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the south to May in the far north."
Arbor Day is now celebrated throughout the United States and abroad.
Entries may be brought to the park or mailed to 3725 Mistletoe Road, Appling, GA 30802. For information, call the park office at (706) 541-0321.
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