Celebrate the environment with Earth Day and Arbor Day Poems and by planting one tree…or more! Trees help us more than give us shade on hot days. Trees help clean the air, provide habitats for birds, squirrels, and more, hold the ground so it won’t wash away, and help keep the soil healthy. Before you read both versions of the Earth Day and Arbor Day poem, What Do We Plant When We Plant a Tree?, can you think of other things that trees give us?

What Do We Plant When We Plant A Tree?

Read the poem, What Do We Plant When We Plant a Tree, below to find what you get when you plant a tree. The poem was written by my 2nd cousin 4 x removed, Henry Abbey (1842 – 1911). You can plant a tree on both Earth Day and Arbor Day – let it become a tradition for you and your children.

Planting trees (on Earth Day and Arbor Day, or any day) is about helping to keep our natural resources as they should be for all generations, now and beyond.  Also in honor of Earth Day, Avatar is was released on DVD. Director James Cameron expressed his hope that ‘Avatar’ will be a force for good in the battle to save the environment by elevating environmental consciousness and Earth Day is the time to start.  Cameron has aligned himself — and the ‘Avatar’ release — with the Earth Day Network and its tree-planting campaign, which has a goal of planting one million trees in 15 countries.

Earth Day and Arbor Day Activities

earth day and arbor day

Read the poem, What Do We Plant When We Plant a Tree, with your children, discuss what other things we get from trees, plant a tree (or one for each child), and then watch Avatar with them, too.  We did.

What do we plant (when we plant the tree)?

by the American author, Henry Abbey (1842-1911)
(very proud we are related)

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship, which will cross the sea.
We plant the mast to carry the sails;
We plant the planks to withstand the gales —
The keel, the keelson, and the beam and knee;
We plant the ship when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
We plant the houses for you and me.
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors.
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams, and siding, all parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree.

What do we plant when we plant the tree?
A thousand things that we daily see;
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country’s flag,
We plant the shade, from the hot sun free;
We plant all these when we plant the tree.

Another version found online

What do we get when we plant the tree?
We plant the ship which will cross the sea;
We plant the pencils to scribble our notes,
We plant the ballots to cast our votes;
We plant the paper in which we read,
The news that o’er wooden poles we speed,
We plant the piles to erect our docks;
We plant the rayon for shirts and socks.

What do we plant when we plant a tree?
We plant the houses for you and me;
We plant the rafters, the shingles, the floors,
We plant the studding, the lath, the doors,
The beams and siding, all the parts that be;
We plant the house when we plant the tree,
We plant the barrel, the box, the crate;
In which to ship all sorts of freight.

What do we plant when we plant a tree?
A thousand things that we daily see,
We plant the spire that out-towers the crag,
We plant the staff for our country’s flag;
We plant the shade from the hot sun free,
We plant all these when we plant the tree.

 And, why do we need to plant a tree? Because trees are giving, so we need to give back.