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100 New Urban Forestry Projects

The Illinois Division of Forest Resources celebrated the NASF #CentennialChallenge by working one-on-one via our Urban & Community Forestry statewide manager with 100 new communities or new urban forestry projects.

Illinois’s challenge – Introduce beneficial community forestry programs and practices to new communities and or initiate new urban forestry program improvements / projects with existing community forestry programs; target goal 100 communities.

Oct 2019 – Sept 2021 Centennial Challenge Accomplishments

18      Additional Communities approved for Tree City USA in 2020: 188/2020 vs. 170/2019

16      Additional Communities approved for Tree City USA Growth in 2020: 40/2020 vs. 24/2019

12      Communities provided new tree ordinance development or revision assistance

24      Communities provided new tree inventory and forest management plan assistance

30     Communities provided new tree planting assistance


Five Notable 2020 Illinois Urban and Community Forestry Projects/Programs/Outcomes

  • First Illinois Urban Forest carbon credit program launched through The Morton Arboretum for the Chicago region with Kendall County Forest Preserve, 31,000 trees planted
  • Chicago Region (7 counties) tree census, through The Morton Arboretum, was completed, a first of its kind study replicating the previous 7-county 2010 tree census. A few of the discoveries – 2% canopy growth, slower than expected ash decline, invasive European buckthorn grows to 36% of stem count
  • Illinois Urban Forest Strike Team helps build volunteer base through a TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification) certification incentive program. Trees Forever manages deployment of Illinois UF Strike Team volunteers to assist Ottawa after a unique Derecho storm event and secures long term arrangement with Illinois DNR to manage Illinois UFST deployments
  • Hispanic outreach, in the form of new Arborist training workshops and videos in Spanish by Hispanic arborists, thanks to work with the Illinois Arborist Association, as well as, Openlands with their creation of a Spanish version of the Treekeeper volunteer manual
  • Establishment of an ongoing tree planting partnership / agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to help mitigate tree losses from state highway construction, over 100 acres planted to date