Suggestions For Alternative Arbor Day Celebrations

By Patricia Lindquist, DNR Urban Forestry Communications Specialist,, 608-843-6248

Looking for ideas for celebrating Arbor Day during the pandemic? Here are a dozen possibilities:

  • Plan a socially distanced tree planting and include a small number of volunteers or limit to municipal staff. See this Arbor Day Foundation guide for suggestions, and be sure to comply with local guidelines from your community health authorities.
  • Host a drive-up tree or seedling giveaway. Last year, New Berlin handed out one hundred small trees with Girl Scouts in a drive-thru Arbor Day celebration. They recorded the Village President reading the proclamation as the cars drove up.

  • Partner with a local restaurant to give out free seedlings with takeout orders. (Thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation for this suggestion. They have more ideas here.)
  • Make an appearance by a city forester or arborist on a radio talk show. Cedarburg City Forester Kevin Westphal recently appeared on CPL Radio’s The Jack Henke Show. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Foresters Dan Buckler and Olivia Witthun were recent guests on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Larry Meiller Show.
  • Host a guided tree walk. It can be in-person (socially distant), virtual, or a written guide. Here are examples from Shorewood and Cedarburg Green.
  • Hang tree tags promoting the benefits of street trees.
  • Identify street trees using sidewalk chalk. Invite residents to join in and post their photos on social media.
  • Invite people to share a photo of their favorite tree on social media.
  • Hold a poetry, art or coloring contest for kids. The Arbor Day Foundation has a selection of coloring pages ready to download.
  • Share a video of a librarian (or yourself!) reading a tree book on social media. Last year, City of Sheboygan Forester Tim Bull posted a video of himself reading the book ‘I Can Name 50 Trees Today’ to his one-year-old son.
  • Post an Arbor Day tree planting video on social media, like Menasha did last year.
  • Host a virtual Arbor Day celebration. Invite an arborist for a live Q&A session with homeowners or plan a trivia event with local elementary school students.
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