Arbor Day Means Free Trees

Conservationists handed out hundreds of trees today in honor of Arbor Day.

The Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation office was among the locations giving away the seedlings. Bald Cypress and Sawtooth Oak were among the native species handed out.

Even Smokey The Bear got into the act, passing out seedlings and encouraging coast residents to understand the importance of planting trees.

"Bottom line is that people are always cutting them. So we need somebody planting them. And it also encourages people to have more trees on the Gulf Coast. Anybody that's got trees knows that their utility bills can go down, they'll have a little storm protection, more shade in the summer. They're good. Trees are good," said Dan Longino with the Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation office.

Arbor Day was the idea of J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City. His simple message was to encourage tree planting. The holiday was first observed in 1872.