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17,800 trees given away during Arkansas Department of Agriculture “Free Tree Fridays” campaign

Melody Stackhouse picks up her free sapling at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Free Tree Friday distribution on April 29 at the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce pavilion. (Photo courtesy of ADA)

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s second annual “Free Tree Fridays” campaign resulted in the distribution of 17,800 trees during 36 events held across the state each Friday from March 18 through April 29. The events were hosted by the Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division in honor of National Arbor Day, which is celebrated annually on the last Friday of April. 

The Arbor Day act of planting a tree gives hope that the tree will grow to provide clean air and water, cooling shade, habitat for wildlife, healthier communities, and natural beauty. The idea for the annual Free Tree Fridays campaign started in 2021 when Grant County Ranger Troy Wood requested an Arbor Day celebration giveaway in his county.

David Jacobs takes home bare-root saplings that were given away during the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Free Tree Friday on April 29 in Stuttgart. (Photo courtesy of ADA)

“We’re always getting calls from the public asking for trees or information about where to buy trees, so I thought a giveaway would be a great way to get trees to them and help them learn more about the work of the Forestry Division,” Wood said. “This way we can talk to landowners about our programs, and what better time to give away trees than Arbor Day?”

More than 4,400 people attended the Free Tree Fridays events this year. The success of the events prompted 14 other tree giveaway events outside of the Department’s campaign where an additional 4,500 seedlings were distributed.  

“One of our goals in Urban and Community Forestry is to give all Arkansans the opportunity to benefit from trees. Several attendees mentioned how grateful they were for the opportunity to access trees they couldn’t otherwise afford,” said Kristine Kimbro, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator.

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