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Growing Equity through Planting Trees (Online)

Schedule and location

Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Central


Fees and registration

Free with a suggested donation
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 or to be waitlisted ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Course description

Trees play a valuable role in creating safer, healthier, and more equitable communities. Yet communities of color are likely to have fewer trees. This forum will explore how to form effective partnerships between communities of color and tree planting organizations to help improve tree canopy in the places that need it most. Panelists will share the benefits that trees provide; discuss how to form transformational partnerships that empower community members in decisions, planting, and care; and share examples of successful collaborations with community tree planting efforts. 

Panelists include leaders of tree-planting initiatives and community-based organizations working toward environmental justice. The conversation will cover questions such as:

  • How do we translate research on the benefits of trees into effective action?
  • What are the barriers to improving the urban canopy in the communities that would most benefit from tree planting?
  • How do we build effective partnerships between tree-planting/environmental organizations and communities of color?
  • What are best practices for community investment in tree-planting efforts?

Following the panel, join the conversation! Participate in a small-group break-out room and discuss real-world strategies for increasing equity and tree cover through successful community partnerships.

Presented as part of the Chicago Wilderness Cafe series

How do I access the program?

  • A link to join the program will be included in the Order Summary email you receive after registering. Keep this email handy!
  • Click on the link at the scheduled date and time.


Trinity Pierce
Stewardship Coordinator for the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI)
Trinity Pierce began her conservation journey during barefoot summers exploring woodland, bogs, and roadside wildflowers of northern Wisconsin. Trinity thrives on leading and learning alongside volunteers of all ages. She has designed and implemented restoration projects from the mountain west to the midwest; from rural to urban ecosystems. Trinity has a background in history, ecological restoration, and urban green space reconciliation.  In her role as the Chicago Region Trees Initiative Stewardship Coordinator, Trinity collaborates with communities to foster awareness of the importance and benefits of trees through hands-on outreach. This outreach in turn fosters action through tree plantings and ongoing tree maintenance in order to build a healthier, more diverse urban forest.


Lorena Lopez
Community Engagement Specialist for the Chicago Region, The Field Museum's Keller Science Action Center
In her role as community engagement specialist, Lorena Lopez works with partner organizations and community members to understand and advance their conservation and community well-being goals in the Chicago and Calumet regions. Her goal is to connect people to nature and encourage them to play an active role in restoring our natural areas. In addition to working at the Field Museum, Lorena has served on the Advisory Council of Environmentalists of Color and is a board member for Faith in Place. As the Open Space Coordinator for the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), she led community mapping to demand a new, clean, safe park in Little Village. Lorena is a native Chicago Southsider and proud to have Mexican roots from El gran Estado de Michoacán the wintering state of the Monarch Butterfly.

Jennifer Idrovo
Community Outreach Coordinator, Openlands
Jennifer Idrovo is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Openlands and works with communities on the Southwest side of Chicago to create green spaces and build advocates for nature. Jen collaborates with community leaders to co-create outreach and education programs tailored to fit the needs of each community. As an environmentalist of color and daughter of immigrants, it’s important for Jen to respect a community’s historical connection to nature and think about how she can incorporate that knowledge into her work. Before Joining Openlands, she was the Neighborhood Network Director at Latinos Progresando leading the Marshall Square Resource Network, a 45-organization coalition focusing on health, education, peace, and capacity building. Jen holds a Bachelors of Arts in Public Policy and Law and Hispanic Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Drew Hart
Natural Resources Specialist, USDA Forest Service
Drew Hart works for the Urban and Community Forestry program with the U.S. Forest Service as the
Natural Resources Specialist in the Chicago Region. He works with communities to support their urban
forestry programs, utilizing the Collective Impact Model for community development. Prior to working
for the Forest Service, Drew directed the NeighborWoods urban forestry program for Keep Indianapolis
Beautiful, and was the Director of the North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago. He has a Masters of
Education degree from Antioch New England University.

Kareema Bass
Urban Ecologist
Kareema Bass has a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan. After a service year with Public Allies, working as the Program Manager at Sacred Keeper’s Sustainability Lab, Kareema found her place in the environmental world. She went on to coordinate Faith in Place’s Winter Farmers Market and was associate program lead for the Imani Green Health Advocate program for Imani Village. Since 2018, she has been fighting for environmental justice and advocating for youth.

Course number


Course details


  • This program will take place using Zoom. You will need access to the internet via a computer or mobile device to participate.
  • Registrants will receive a Zoom link by email. To ensure you receive the link, please add education@mortonarb.org to your address book. Click on the link to join the program at the scheduled date and time.
  • New to Zoom? Watch this short video to learn how to join a Zoom meeting.

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