Over 164 years ago, Jay Sterling Morton started the Arbor Day Foundation. He had a passion for helping the environment, and because of his efforts, the holiday was first observed in April 1872. It was an enormous success; more than a million trees were planted on that first Arbor Day. Since 1885, Arbor Day has been a public holiday in Nebraska, where Morton was living. Nearly all states recognize and celebrate this wonderful environmental holiday today. South Dakota’s traditional Arbor Day is held on the last Friday in April. This year, the South Dakota Conservation Districts held an Arbor Day essay contest. The contest was open to all fifth and sixth grade students in South Dakota. Team Norris was very fortunate to have three winners represented in the regional contest. Isaac Ostrem placed first, Jake Palmer second and Addison Bartels placed third. Mrs. Norris was very proud of her students for entering the contest. The class had spent time learning about conservation and what each student could do to make a difference in our community. The contest was sponsored by McDonalds, the SD Department of Agriculture, Resource Conservation and Forestry Division and Association of Conservation Districts. The winners received a cash award and the state tree, a White Spruce, to plant. Everyone who entered the contest was given a pack of seeds and a McDonalds gift card. Lynda Johnson, the district manager presented the students with their prizes on April 26th. This year Arbor Day was recognized on April 27th. Did you plant a tree? If not, Team Norris encourages you to plant a tree and support the cause started many years ago. Let’s all speak for the trees!