poetry and prose about place

early schools – Arbour Day

with 2 comments

Trees in the school yard, especially big trees suitable for climbing and swinging, would have been an appreciated feature of the school landscape. On a hot June day, students would have enjoyed the shade under a big tree.


In the 1940s and 50s, some of these trees may have been planted sixty years before by students learning about abouriculture. By the early 1900s, there were Arbour Day celebrations in Canada when students planted trees at school and elsewhere in the community. The first official Arbour Day in Canada was established in 1906 by Don Clark of Schomberg, Ontario to remember his wife Margaret. 


cumberland bay school 2

big spruce trees in the yard of the Cumberland Bay School, New Brunswick


In Nova Scotia, schools celebrated Arbour Day by 1929 and perhaps before. In May and June that year, officials organized the planting of trees and shrubs in the school yard and involved community members and local dignitaries in the events to encourage their interest in the school system. In 1928, the newspaper Halifax Harald offered, province-wide, a $700 prize for school beautification, which would have included the planting of trees  (Jane Norman, Loran Arthur DeWolfe and The Reform of Education in Nova Scotia 1891-1959. Truro, Nova Scotia: Atlantic Early Learning Productions, 1989).


The idea of planting trees in school yards continues to this day. Trees are important because they:

  • clean our air of pollutants
  • remove carbon dioxide, to reduce the contribution to global warming
  • prevent soil erosion
  • trap water pollutants by directing flow downward
  • provide habitat for birds, bees and squirrels
  • raise property values
  • provide the oxygen we breathe
  • provide shade
  • make great places for climbing and swinging


June 5 2016 'arbour day' Jane Tims



Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

June 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Lovely sketch, Jane. It is indeed a long wait.



    June 13, 2016 at 8:21 am

    • The boys in the drawing look as though they don’t think it will ever grow!


      jane tims

      June 13, 2016 at 2:00 pm

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