A Triumph for Tree-Planting in Arbor Week
Large, Dazzling Arboretum Tree To Seemingly "Spring Up" Unexpectedly In Downtown Chicago
LISLE, IL (March 20, 2009) - Imagine your world without trees-none in your yard, along the streets, or in parks. How would this change your experiences and perceptions of the world? Now, imagine a world with more trees.
What a difference trees make in our lives! Beautiful and functional, even one tree can provide oxygen to breathe, filter pollutants from our air, save energy, provide habitat for wildlife, convey serenity, improve outdoor leisure and recreation experiences, and beautify the landscape. For these reasons, the Arboretum has adopted "One Tree Makes A Difference" as the theme for this year's Arbor Week celebrations (April 18-26). This includes Earth Day (April 22), and the day dedicated to planting and protecting trees: Arbor Day (April 24 in Illinois), the nation's oldest environmental holiday.
"Every tree we plant, and every tree we protect and nurture, plays an essential role in making our communities and the environment better-greener, healthier, and more beautiful," says Gerard T. Donnelly, President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum.
The Arboretum is excited to partner with the City of Chicago to unveil and display a 30-foot tall TriumphÔ elm tree during Arbor Week, Donnelly says. The tree will be festooned with hundreds of green ribbons, beautifully flowing in the breeze, and carrying schoolchildren's messages about the importance of trees. This tree's sudden appearance in a prominent, downtown Chicago location that's yet to be revealed will no doubt surprise spectators, and dramatically depict throughout the week how one tree makes a difference in our lives.
Then on Saturday, April 25, the Triumph elm will be planted for the people of the Chicago region at a location that the Grant Park Conservancy selected: Hutchinson Field, the site of President Obama's speech to the nation upon his election-night triumph. The tree also symbolizes the importance and role of urban trees, and the City of Chicago's extensive greening initiatives-past, present, and future.
The Triumph elm itself has made a difference in our lives. Developed by the Arboretum, this elm has been planted throughout the Chicago region to replace stately American elms that fell victim to Dutch elm disease. Triumph is highly resistant to diseases and pests, and is drought-tolerant.
The Triumph will bolster the message that trees are essential in our world, and should inspire all of us to get involved in planting and protecting trees, or support this mission in some manner. Tree-planting is a powerful way to deal with environmental concerns such as global climate change.
Tree appreciation should begin at an early age. To draw youngsters' awareness to the benefits of trees, the Arboretum and the City of Chicago's Bureau of Forestry will be asking fourth and fifth graders in Chicago public schools-one in each of the 50 wards-to write a brief message on the green ribbons explaining why they like trees. It is these ribbons that will be tied to the large Triumph elm, boosting the students' pride in participating in tree-planting and tree-protection efforts.
The Arboretum will also send representatives to many of these same schools from late April until mid-May. They will assist and support some of the classes in tree-planting celebrations and other fun activities, and provide each student an educational item from the Arboretum. The schoolchildren's Arbor Week involvement-from the messages they write on ribbons to their school tree-plantings-is designed to instill a lifelong interest in planting and protecting trees.
For educators, the Arboretum has rolled out a special section of its website at www.mortonarb.org with free, downloadable resources to help teach children about trees in a fun, engaging way. It's designed as a "one-stop-shop" for teachers to find curriculum materials, activities, and games; all geared toward helping teachers meet natural sciences teaching objectives.
In addition to the tree display and planting in partnership with the City of Chicago, the Arboretum will offer enjoyable events on its grounds in Lisle in honor of Arbor Day.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges our Arbor Week sponsors: JEWEL-OSCO, the Supporting Sponsor, and additional support for education programs comes from JPMorgan Chase.
We also wish to thank Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., GRO Horticultural Enterprises, and Kaneville Tree Farms for their assistance in the downtown Chicago tree project.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 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 to learn more.