By Katrina Marland

We’ve been a little extra busy this month, what with new legislation, policy conferences, fascinating scientific discoveries and just keeping up with the world of environmental news overall. But being busy is no good reason to overlook a birthday, so we’re taking a minute today to recognize some states that are another year older.

First up is Nebraska, which claimed its statehood on March 1, 1867. Among the many cool things the Cornhusker State can lay claim to — including being the birthplace of Kool Aid — is Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands, unique because its forests have been hand-planted over the last century or so. In fact, it’s the largest hand-planted forest in the western hemisphere.

Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Ranger District

Next on the list is Ohio, which became a state on March 1, 1803. Ohio’s only national forest is Wayne National Forest, which sprawls over a quarter of a million acres of Appalachian foothills.

Then, we have Florida, a state that for me is synonymous with our National Register of Big Trees because for the last 10 years (with one exception), it has been the home to more champion trees than any other state. The Sunshine State celebrated its statehood on March 3rd. Florida has three national forests — Apalachicola, Osceola and Ocala — all of which merit a visit at any time of year, whether for swimming in summer, hiking in autumn or viewing a variety of rare ecosystems year-round.

Osceola National Forest (Credit: Geoff Gallice)

And lastly, we have Vermont, which entered the Union March 4, 1791. Famous for more than maple syrup, this state his home to Green Mountain National Forest, which boasts many great hiking trails, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail, as well as some of the most incredible autumn foliage one could ever hope to see.

Green Mountain National Forest (Credit: Rich Moffitt)