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Celebrate Arbor month -- explore seeds

What can be smaller than a pea, but grow as big as a tree? A seed!

In Minnesota, May is Arbor Month and Arbor Day, Friday, April 30, marks the beginning of an entire month of celebrating trees. The theme for Arbor Month is "From Small Seeds Grow BIG Dreams."

The idea is to demonstrate that seeds are packed with everything they need to get a good start in life.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers these reasons for planting trees:

n Plant trees or sow seeds to create a windbreak or shelterbelt, which will help reduce energy consumption and provide privacy.

n Mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals provide excellent cover and a source of food for a wide variety of animals, big and small.

Roots of trees and shrubs stabilize the soil and reduce soil erosion from water and wind.

• Trees play an important role in mitigating climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

• In an urban setting, trees and shrubs provide soothing green spaces and flowers add a splash of color.

Ways people can celebrate Arbor Day or Arbor Month include:

• Attend a local Arbor Day ceremony or plant a tree or shrub.

• Find examples of seed formation, seed dispersal and seed germination.

• Collect a variety of seeds and create a display.

• Grow a plant or tree from a seed.

• Attract wildlife and add beauty to the landscape by planting annuals in a container.

The DNR sent out more than 2,500 Arbor Month packets consisting of the "From Small Seeds Grow BIG Dreams" poster and a packet of red pine seeds to educators and natural resources professionals statewide. To obtain an Arbor Month packet, poster or red pine seed packet, contact the DNR Information Center at, 651-296-6157 or 888-657-3929.

In 1876, Minnesota became the fourth state to adopt the tradition of celebrating Arbor Day. Since 1978, May has been Arbor Month in Minnesota. The warmer weather in May allows newly planted trees to get off to a good start.