Openlands Launches Major Urban Forestry Initiative

Chicago, IL (October 10, 2013) – Openlands has launched a major tree planting program in Chicago, the Openlands Urban Forestry Initiative. Its goals are to increase the number and quality of the trees in the city, while creating educational opportunities for citizens to care about and to plant trees within their neighborhood parks, streets, and natural areas.

Chicago parkway ash borerThrough hands-on education, the community will learn the multiple benefits of trees and be encouraged to adopt and care for their trees. Beyond providing shade and beauty, city trees clean air, capture and clean water, support biodiversity, and conserve energy.

Working in partnership with The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), the Openlands Urban Forestry Initiative begins in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on the South Side. A kick-off tree planting event was held October 10th.

“Chicago’s motto is ‘City in a garden’ and generations of Chicagoans have helped preserve and protect this legacy,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Trees are a critical part of our heritage as they enhance the livability of our neighborhoods and the health of our city. We welcome the Openlands Urban Forestry Initiative and look forward to working together to improve sustainability and quality of life throughout Chicago.”

“Since launching the TreeKeepers program in 1991, Openlands has been at the forefront of protecting Chicago’s urban forest through the dedication of citizen volunteers,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “This initiative adds tree planting to the scope of Openlands’ work on a huge, but focused scale. Yet even as we embark on this new initiative, our commitment remains on making a smart impact, not simply planting trees, but working with communities to both plant and care for their new trees.”

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is supporting the initiative with a $500,000 grant to plant 5,000 trees between now and the end of 2015. The Boeing Company is providing support with a grant to Openlands to provide education and outreach in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.

Source: News Release, “Openlands Launches Major Urban Forestry Initiative October 10