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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

50th Anniversary of Arbor Day in Alaska

By Laura Charlton


January 22, 2016
Friday AM

My name is Laura Charlton. I am a 25+ year resident of Ketchikan, a Registered Consulting Arborist, and also current Chair of the Alaska Community Forest Council. We have put together a number of small grants offering money to non profits 501.C3 or municipalities to help communities celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Arbor Day in Alaska.
In 1966, Alaska was the only state in the Union without an official Arbor Day.  A group of Kodiak fourth-graders asked their state senator to do something about it, and he did. Soon Gov. Bill Egan was signing Alaska Arbor Day into law and, in May 1966, he used a golden shovel to plant a ceremonial tree near the Juneau Library.
From the beginning, Arbor Day has been a community celebration with a special emphasis on youth. In 1907, Pres. Theodore Roosevelt addressed his Arbor Day Proclamation to “the school children of the United States.” In 1966, with help from the Forest Service, the Juneau Garden Club potted up a tree for every one of those Kodiak fourth-graders who got things started; the U.S. Coast Guard delivered them.
Monday, May 16, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of Alaska Arbor Day. A broad range of celebratory events are planned for communities around the state.  Watch for announcements, volunteer opportunities and check out this grant RFP. Please consider a celebration of Arbor Day for your community, surrounding area, or entire state. Plan to plant a tree or two, maybe a memorial tree, have a 5K run, be creative!

Enclosed is some pertinent information about this grant. The link to the main page is

Thank you! We look forward to a statewide series of celebrations and tree plantings this coming Arbor Day in Alaska. Remember, all of the other holidays celebrate the past, Arbor Day celebrates the future!


Laura Charlton
Chair, Alaska Community Forest Council
Ketchikan, Alaska


Received January 20, 2016 - Published January 22, 2015



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