Arbor Day Parade




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By Dan Beard

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Fig 32.

Arbor or Johnny Appleseed Day Celebration

If your Fort attends a school which observes this day, use your influence, and get your parents to use theirs, to have your members appointed by the school authorities to superintend the planting of the tree.  If your members do not belong to a school or any other organization which celebrates Arbor Day, then you must take it upon your own shoulders to get up the celebration and enlist the interest of the parents and teachers in the scheme, and go to some gentleman in your town or district or neighborhood who is accustomed to public speaking, and ask him to make the address upon the occasion.

You must first explain the objects of the Society of the Boy Pioneers, and tell him that you stand for the preservation and the perpetuation of our native plants and trees, and you want him to give a bully, good rousing speech to excite the enthusiasm of the audience to aid and abet you in all your philanthropic undertakings.  If you are in a small town or village, see if you cannot use your influence and have the fire companies or local militia turn out on that day; or if this is impracticable, you must get some one to provide a band, even if it consists only of a fife and drum.

When your Fort grows larger you will probably have a drum-corps consisting of your own members.  At the present time it is most imperative that the boys and young people should take an active part in the ceremonies of Arbor Day, because there are wicked and thoughtless men at present engaged in wasting and stealing the forests, with a reckless disregard of the consequences which must follow the destruction of our timber.

These men, in their thoughtless and selfish greed, forget that you boys are the ones who will suffer by their profligate waste of the natural resources of the country, and if they do not forget it they are even more wicked than we wish to think them, because they are wiping out of existence the natural inheritance which is due the coming generation, which has an inalienable right to an equal share of the benefits.

You know the old Bible story of the profligate who spent all his money and ended by herding swine.  In this story it was the profligate who spent the money who had to attend the pigs; but in the case of the timber thieves, they propose to have all the fun of spending the money and allow you, the coming generation, to do the swineherd act.

The best way in the world to stop these abuses is for you boys to thoroughly understand the question and take it into your own hands to start a reform.  It is not so much the good the planting of one tree will do of itself as the effect of that act upon the minds of the observers.  It teaches them that we want trees and we are going to have them, and we want good native American trees--if possible we want the kinds that are most intimately connected with the history of this country--so in selecting your tree to be planted on Arbor Day, give a preference to the black walnut, hickory, white oak, white pine, or some other tree that is now becoming rare.  If, however, these trees are not obtainable, any good native tree will do, for we must plant a tree of some kind on Arbor Day.

Easy Trees

to get are elms, maples, and oaks.  They can be found almost everywhere, and are as handsome as any trees you can find and not hard to transplant.  If you select saplings from eight to ten feet high, they will be less liable to injury after they are planted.  Arbor Day should be as it is in the early spring, for this is the best time for planting trees.

Planting the Tree

A cool, cloudy day is the ideal one for planting trees, but we must do it Arbor Day, even if it is warm and clear.

Have the hole dug deep and wide enough for the full spread of the roots.  Keep the roots of your tree moist with mud, wrap around the mud ball containing the roots any old damp cloth or burlap, and remember that a minute's exposure to dry air will injure the delicate roots, which are the feeders to your tree.

Set the tree in the hole so that the roots will spread out naturally, and carefully shovel in fine dirt (loam soil).  As the earth is shovelled in the hole, pack and work the dirt around the roots with your feet, and trample the earth down over the roots and around the trunk until the tree stands firmly upright.

Let the earth come up about the trunk a little above the former line of the earth's surface, that is, a little above where the earth came on the tree before it was transplanted.  Make the last two inches fill of very fine soil and do not park it, for the loose earth will catch and retain moisture.

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Fig. 30.
Framework of the Litter

In the Parade

on Arbor Day bring out all your prairie schooners, or emigrant wagons, which are described in the next chapter, and decorate them with bright-colored ribbons and flags.   Supply each member of the Sons of Daniel Boone with a wand or bean pole, upon the end of which is tied a bunch of evergreen bedecked with a knot of gayly colored ribbon.   Fig. 26 will show you how to make these wands for the paraders to carry.

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Fig. 26
The Wand.

The officers of the Sons of Daniel Boone should act as the pioneers of the parade and march in front of the Sons of Daniel Boone, each officer bearing a pick, spade, or shovel decorated with ribbons to represent the work they intend to do on that day in planting the tree; but Daniel Boone himself and Appleseed Johnny have neither wand, pick, nor shovel, for their proud burden is the tree which is to be planted.

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Fig. 31:
The litter

The tree may be carried upon a litter gayly decked with flags and bunting; even the plant itself may have knots of ribbon tied to its trunk and branches and be supported by four bright-colored streamers attached to the handles of the litter, as shown in Fig. 32.

To make this litter, take two light but strong poles (Fig. 27) about eight feet in length; smooth off the ends of the poles where the boys are to grasp them so that they will not hurt their hands.  Connect the poles by a platform made of light plank (Fig. 29), and further strengthen it by two battens or cross-pieces (Fig. 28), and let these be about three feet long. Nail them securely in place (Fig. 30).

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Figs. 27, 28, 29:
The material for the litter.   

The roots of the tree have been surrounded with a ball of damp earth and wrapped in a piece of burlap to protect it.  Outside of this burlap you may wrap flags or strips of bunting displaying the national colors.

I will not give any more minute directions in regard to decorating the float, or litter, because I know that I can trust the artistic sense of the boys themselves in making these decorations.  I will only caution you not to tie strings or cords about the tree itself so as to injure or scratch the bark.  Broad ribbons will not hurt the tree, but small twine or cord is very liable to injure it. It is not necessary for the Sons of Daniel Boone to do the actual work of digging the hole and planting the tree, for if you have an expert workman to do that for you, one who understands tree planting, it will be better to allow him to do the hard work and give you a chance to devote your whole attention to the parade and the ceremonies connected with the affair.

When you reach the reviewing stand, where the orator is stationed, let the boys form two lines and hold their wands, picks, and shovels at "present arms" to salute Appleseed Johnny and Daniel Boone as they bear the tree between the two lines of boys to the place where it is to make its home in the future.

You must use great care in planting the tree properly, because next Arbor Day each Fort who can report the tree they planted the previous season to be in a healthy and flourishing condition is entitled to cut a notch on their Tally-Gun.

See Also:

How to Celebrate Appleseed Johnny's Day

The Boy Pioneers






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Arbor Day Parade ] Tally Gun Honors ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Foreword ] Daniel Boone ] Appleseed Johnny's Day ] Simon Kenton ] Simon Girty ] Audubon's Day ] Form a Boy's Club ] Initiation Boy Pioneers ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.