March 1935

US and World Events plus Additional Resources


A map of major planting areas of the Shelterbelt Project, begun in response to Dust Bowl conditions in the Great Plains between Texas and North Dakota during the early 1930’s. This unique windbreak project, officially termed the Prairie States Forestry Project, began in 1934. In March 1935, the first tree was planted on a farm in Mangum, Oklahoma. This map shows the major planting areas of the Shelterbelt.

The project involved extensive cooperation between the USDA Soil Conservation Service, various State, county, and local agencies, and hundreds of farmers. Legions of Works Progress Administration (WPA) relief workers, many of whom were unemployed farmers, accomplished the work. In the spring of 1938, they planted approximately 52,000 cottonwood trees in one severely sand-blown area south of Neligh, Nebraska.

Although Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps workers planted the trees and shrubs, landowners were responsible for their long-term care and maintenance. During 1939, the peak year of the project, 13 nurseries produced more than 60 million seedlings. Over the project’s duration, over 200 million trees and shrubs were planted on 30,000 farms–a total length of 18,600 miles in all.