Blue Island Tree Campaign to Grow This Fall
BLUE ISLAND, IL—August 16, 2018 (James Street Media Services)—A citizen-driven campaign to plant trees in Blue Island is exceeding the original goal of 70 new trees thanks to donations from a consortium of environmental and government organizations. Organizers now expect to have planted 90 trees by the end of the season.
The next planting is set for Saturday, September 22, and up to 60 trees will be planted in parkways and yards. The funding, materials, and labor comes from local residents, as well as Openlands and the Morton Arboretum. Volunteers are needed for the planting.
Approximately 30 trees were planted in May. They were acquired with money raised through a GoFundMe campaign. It was supplemented with a matching grant and in-kind services from Openlands, a Northeastern Illinois conservation organization, and additional help from Morton Arboretum.
Next year, the grassroots campaign expects to receive a Greater Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant from the U.S. Forest Service, the Student Conservation Association, the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Morton Arboretum.
That grant will fund the planting of 75 more trees in the spring and fall of 2019.
“It’s very rewarding that we have commitments exceeding our 2018 goal, and gives us greater enthusiasm for next year’s program, which is already quite healthy,” said one of the campaign organizers Valerie Kehoe, a Blue Island resident and professional arborist.
Blue Island is one of the oldest cities in Northern Illinois and has many majestic, large trees lining its residential streets. Trees are also important economic assets that help reduce flooding, keep buildings cool, and decrease the damaging effects of sun on city streets. Plus, they protect and purify the atmosphere.
A GoFundMe campaign was started in November 2017 by Kehoe—along with Blue Island aldermen Bill Fahrenwald and Tom Hawley. Since that time, 80 donors have given almost $4,600. That was enough to pay for about half the original 70-tree goal, with some funds remaining to help next year.
Kehoe and her team are now accepting requests for trees to be planted in September along parkways at specific addresses. The area around Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School is being targeted for the fall planting. And, donations are still being accepted for the overall tree canopy restoration campaign.
To get involved visit www.gofundme.com/BItrees, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Property owners who wish to request a new tree can also contact the alderman for their ward by phone or emails listed on the city website at: www.blueisland.org/government/city-council-alderman-wards.
A video on Blue Island Television’s YouTube channel explores this community driven effort. It can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKc7hoKMcjo.