By Dan Beard
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
The Boy Pioneers