To the Editor:
I would like to add a few interesting details on why April 22 was chosen by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson as Earth Day.
April 22 is the birthday of J. Sterling Morton, who was born in 1832 and died in1902.
Morton moved to Nebraska with his wife in 1854. He was appointed Secretary of the Nebraska Territory by President James Buchanan, a post he held from 1858 to '61, and briefly served as governor.
Morton founded Arbor Day in 1872. He was President Grover Cleveland’s Secretary of Agriculture from 1893-1897. He was well known in Nebraska for his agricultural and literary activities and is credited with helping to change the Agriculture Department into a coordinated service to farmers. He helped farmers find ways to increase their production while keeping their land environmentally secure.
Morton is credited with helping to change the Agriculture Department into a coordinated service to farmers. He supported President Grover Cleveland in setting up national forest reservations.
Also, by the way, his son, Joy Morton, founded Morton Salt. Joy also created Morton Arboreum in Lisle, in 1922.
There is a lot of history behind Earth Day, April 22. J. Sterling Morton’s home and estate in Nebraska City is now a Nebraska state park, the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. Plus, there is a J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 in Cicero, a J. Sterling Morton High School East, a J. Sterling Morton High School West and a J. Sterling Morton East Auditorium.