Nebraska's pioneer efforts in tree planting gave the state its early nickname. Nebraska's claim to tree-planting fame includes the founding of Arbor Day in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, the Tree Claim Act of Sen. Phineas W. Hitchcock of Omaha in 1873, and the millions of trees planted by early settlers as windbreaks, woodlots and orchards.
The 1945 Legislature changed the official state name to the "Cornhusker State," thus repealing the 1895 act. The name is derived from the nickname for the University of Nebraska athletic teams - the "Cornhuskers" - which was coined in 1900 by Charles S. "Cy" Sherman, a sportswriter for the Nebraska State Journal in Lincoln. "Cornhuskers" replaced earlier nicknames, such as "Golden Knights", "Antelopes", and "Bugeaters". The term "cornhusker" comes from the method of harvesting or "husking" corn by hand, which was common in Nebraska before the invention of husking machinery.