Nebraska tree program celebrates 100 million trees and shrubs planted

By: - September 6, 2022 2:38 pm
tree planting

A ceremonial 100 millionth tree was planted Friday on the grounds of the Nebraska State Capitol to commemorate the work of the state’s Natural Resources Districts to get trees and shrubs planted for wildlife habitat and erosion control. (Courtesy Nebraska Association of Resources Districts)

LINCOLN — A 50-year-old program that annually distributes hundreds of thousands of tree and shrub seedlings celebrated a milestone recently, planting a tree at the Nebraska State Capitol to represent that 100 million trees and shrubs have been put in the ground.

The Conservation Tree Program, run by Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts since 1972, distributes the trees and shrubs for wind breaks, erosion control, wildlife habitat and other conservation purposes.

Officials estimated that the 100 millionth tree was planted this spring and that, all told, 50 trees and shrubs per Nebraska resident have been planted through the program across the state.

“Nebraska has a proud history of planting trees and putting the 100 millionth tree in the ground reflects Nebraskans’ willingness to invest in the future,” said Dr. Orval Gigstad, president of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts.

Nebraska was once known as the “Tree Planters State” due to its commitment to establish trees on the mostly tree-less prairie.

A majority of the NRD conservation trees come from a nursery at the U.S. Forest Service’s Bessey Nursery in Halsey.

The trees and shrubs are sold in bundles — the NRDs take orders between November and March, then distribute the trees and shrubs in April in time for planting.


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.