Arboretum Creates New, Expanded Tree Celebrations“Arbor Week” Recognizes Growing Importance of Planting Trees
LISLE, IL (March 26, 2008) – As our climate continues to change and there are fewer green spaces, one answer to our environmental problems lies in two, simple words.
For 85 years, The Morton Arboretum has been passionately committed to encouraging everyone to plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. As tree-planting grows in importance, the Arboretum is expanding its tree celebration with “Arbor Week,” running from Earth Day, April 22, through Arbor Day, April 25, and concluding on April 27. Arbor Day is the nation’s oldest environmental holiday, and the Arboretum’s signature holiday. To encourage strong participation in Arbor Day events and to emphasize greening, Arboretum admission is free of charge on April 25.
The Arboretum is active in the global, United Nations Environment Program’s Billion Tree Campaign, having pledged to plant 400 trees in 2008.
“Trees may well be our most precious resource,” says Edith Makra, arborist and Arboretum Community Trees Advocate. “They filter pollutants from our air, reduce greenhouse gases, help prevent floods, and reduce heat. They improve our quality of life in so many ways.”
But around the country, trends are heading in the wrong direction. The tree cover in Chicago and Philadelphia is just 16% of what it once was; and the cover in Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida cities has fallen to about 27% of what it once was, according to a Time magazine report.
The Arboretum presents or conducts various activities this Arbor Week to encourage greening, including community tree-plantings, the 13th annual Arbor Day Plant Sale, distribution of the new, reusable, “go anywhere” Arboretum bag, and the opening of David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibition.
Arboretum staff has inspired or will take an active role in nearly 50 municipal and school Arbor Day-related tree-planting ceremonies across Chicagoland. In the festivities, community members and students will plant trees and hear about the many benefits we derive from trees. The Arboretum will distribute thousands of Arbor Day booklets teaching children how to identify certain trees, explaining the common products we get from trees, and describing how to plant a seedling.
Everyone, particularly those who care about trees and the environment, is invited to attend a ceremonial tree-planting on Arboretum grounds, at 11 a.m. on Arbor Day, April 25.
The Arboretum is rolling out a new, reusable, “go anywhere” bag with the message “less paper, less plastic, more trees.” The attractive bag is lightweight, but is strong enough for using at the market, going to the beach, or taking to work. Bags are sold exclusively at The Arboretum Store for $1.99 each, with proceeds supporting the Arboretum mission of encouraging everyone to plant and protect trees.
The Arbor Day Plant Sale is one of the most anticipated annual events among Arboretum members. The Arboretum offers some of the finest plants for Midwest gardens: 300 varieties of hardy, cutting-edge trees and other plants that are not typically found in the local garden store. The Under-the-Tent Sale, in the Visitor Center parking lot, is open to members April 25-26, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. On Sunday, April 27, the general public is welcome to purchase plants from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
An award-winning activity likening a tree to a factory is called “The Plant,” where families “clock-in” to “work a shift.” The engaging activities explore the processes in spring growth and renewal of trees and other plants as they emerge from their winter slumber. Fun crafts are included, and children can get a tree seedling to plant at home. “The Plant” is open April 25-27 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Also on April 25, the Arboretum opens the amazing David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibition, which runs through July 20, featuring 12 gargantuan bugs sculpted from trees, dried branches, tree roots, and green saplings. The effect is a role reversal of dimension and perception where the bugs tower above us all, instead of vice versa, according to Rogers. The huge bugs – an Ant is 25-feet long and a Praying Mantis is 1,200 pounds – amaze all visitors, spurring youngsters to learn more about the world we share with bugs, and how they help trees. For a deeper understanding of the many fascinating facts about bugs, the Arboretum Education Program offers youth, family, and adult courses.
An Arboretum tram takes visitors on a tour of the Arboretum’s vast tree collections from 40 countries around the world. Tours are daily, 11 a.m., and 12:30, 2:00, and 3:30 p.m. Also, visitors can take guided walks into the Arboretum collections and natural areas to gain a deeper appreciation for trees.
Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1903) founded Arbor Day, and his son, Joy Morton, established The Morton Arboretum in keeping with the family’s motto: “Plant Trees.” Last year, Arboretum staff planted 8,653 new trees, shrubs, and other plants on the grounds.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges the Arbor Week Contributing Sponsors: Sara Lee Foundation, and Waste Management.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,134 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.