COLUMBIA, Mo. – In recognition of National Volunteer Month, 4-H members will again partner with Crader Distributing and local Stihl dealers for a week of service and citizenship in April, planting Liberty Trees in communities throughout Missouri. The effort is part of a monthlong 4-H True Leaders in Service initiative with thousands of youth nationwide rolling up their sleeves in service to their communities.
Through this initiative, Crader Distributing and local Stihl dealers will donate up to 20 bud-grafted Liberty Trees to Missouri 4-H clubs throughout the state. “These trees are clones of the last standing Liberty Tree, under which the Declaration of Independence was read and America was born,” said Stan Crader, president of Crader Distributing.
4-H clubs will have an opportunity to plant a tulip poplar Liberty Tree in their communities between Saturday, April 22, and Saturday, April 29. This week of service will culminate with a Liberty Tree planting ceremony at the state Capitol on Friday, April 28, at 3 p.m.
“The original Liberty Tree survived for more than four hundred years,” Crader said. “Our desire is for these trees to survive for several generations as living symbols of liberty, citizenship and community service.”
The 4-H clubs will be asked to develop a detailed plan that outlines a publicly accessible location for planting their Liberty Tree and long-term care. Clubs are also encouraged to work with county MU Extension centers, governments and community leaders to implement their plans.
“4-H is more than 100 years old, and we know we wouldn’t be thriving without the support of our many friends, neighbors and partners like Crader Distributing Co.,” said Rachel Augustine, interim executive director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation “While this national initiative is new, the local effort is not, and we appreciate the opportunity to once again play an active role in preserving American history while promoting service to Missouri communities.”
About the Liberty Tree
The original Liberty Tree was a famous elm tree that stood near Boston Common during the Revolutionary War era. In 1765, the Sons of Liberty, a group of American colonists, staged the first act of defiance against British rule under the tree. This spawned the resistance that eventually led to the American Revolutionary War. During the war, several other towns designated their own Liberty Trees as support for the resistance spread throughout the colonies. These Liberty Trees became symbols of American independence.
The last original Liberty Tree, a tulip poplar, stood on the grounds of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., until 1999, when it died during Hurricane Floyd. Prior to its death, 14 seedlings were successfully germinated from the tree and planted throughout the original 13 colonies. This eventually led to a bud-grafting program through which several bud-grafted tulip poplars were grown.
About Crader Distributing Co.
Founded in 1944 in Marble Hill, Mo., Crader Distributing Co. (CDC) is a family-owned business and the exclusive distributor of Stihl outdoor power equipment in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and southern Illinois. Along with its sister organization Blue Mountain Equipment, which services Texas and Oklahoma, CDC provides Stihl outdoor power equipment to more than 1,300 dealers throughout the Midwest.
About Missouri 4-H and the 4-H Foundation
MU Extension 4-H connects the technical knowledge of Mizzou to a community of more than 200,000 youths from across Missouri learning about the sciences, leadership, citizenship and skills for life. For more than 65 years, the Missouri 4-H Foundation has been managing funds for the MU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, providing higher education scholarships and recognizing 4-H volunteers.