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The Morton Arboretum To Showcase Trees' Important Role In Our Cities' Future

April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015

Just as they need water and sunlight, trees need each and every one of us to thrive. This Arbor Day, The Morton Arboretum is bringing attention to the actions Chicagoans can take in their daily lives to care for trees–so crucial to the future of our city and region–with two public events taking place in Chicago.  

Arbor Day Pop-Up Celebration at Millennium Park – Friday, April 24
The Morton Arboretum invites Chicagoans to join in its celebration of trees on April 24 as it hosts the first-ever Arbor Day Pop-Up Celebration in Millennium Park at Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue. 

Chicagoans are invited to choose their favorite types of trees and share them on a giant, 20 foot x 8 foot board, set up in Wrigley Square in Millennium Park from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Arboretum staff will be on-hand to share interesting facts about the trees that make the Chicago area so beautiful, and visitors can pick their favorites by pinning a green ribbon to their selected trees. 

Not only will this day-long event shed a light on the trees that surround us—the trees that clean the air and better our lives—it will also be an opportunity to learn about the many different species of trees that thrive in Chicago, and how each one of us can be a champion of trees for a greener, healthier city, region and world.

Knowledgeable staff and volunteers with the Arboretum’s Plant Clinic will also be on-hand throughout the day to answer tree- and plant-related questions and concerns. The Morton Arboretum’s Plant Clinic is a free resource that provides guidance and recommendations to homeowners, gardeners and others on topics such as tree and plant selection and identification as well as information on invasive diseases or pests.

Arbor Day Tree Tag Campaign: “Trees Need You” – April 20-May 4
For the fourth year, volunteers with the Arboretum, working in partnership with the City of Chicago and other organizations, will hang brightly-colored tags from nearly 2,000 of the city’s trees. A series of five tags highlight what we can do to help trees thrive in our cities and suburbs. Tags will remain up from Monday, April 20-Monday, May 4.

“Chicago is home to more than 150 species of trees that make our city beautiful, clean the air we breathe, and keep us cooler in the warm months, but the trees that grow in our cities need champions to thrive,” said Lydia Scott, Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, a coalition spearheaded by The Morton Arboretum and established to develop and implement a strategy that builds a healthier and more diverse urban forest by 2040. “Through our Arbor Day Pop-Up Celebration and Tree Tag campaign, we’re encouraging people to take a closer look at the trees that surround us and learn what each of us can do to ensure our city and suburbs are green for years to come.”

Why Trees Matter
In an urban forest, defined as trees that live alongside people in larger cities and suburbs, trees can’t survive without human intervention. Meanwhile, people–quite literally–cannot live without trees.  So, the Arboretum’s arborists, horticulturists, researchers and teams of volunteers work diligently to protect and conserve the trees that make our cities so beautiful, dealing daily with issues like the emerald ash borer and fungal diseases that threaten to decimate much of the area’s treescape. The Morton Arboretum estimates that one in five Chicago street trees is an ash tree – most of which will eventually need to be removed, which will not only change the look of parkways, yards and communities, but will mean that thousands of trees will need to be replaced.

Arbor Day and The Morton Arboretum 
As part of its mission to plant and save trees, The Morton Arboretum has a unique connection to Arbor Day. To encourage the planting of trees, the first Arbor Day was organized in tree-barren Nebraska in 1872 by Secretary of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton, father of Joy Morton who later founded the Arboretum. The Morton family motto was “Plant Trees,” which inspired Joy Morton, president of the Morton Salt Company in Chicago, to carry on that legacy at his estate in west suburban Lisle, where he established an arboretum, or outdoor museum of trees, in 1922. Today, all 50 states and many countries around the world recognize Arbor Day in honor of trees and their value to us. Arbor Day in Illinois is the last Friday in April, but other states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times.