Group Plants Trees To Offset Some Damage Of Emerald Ash Borer

Nancy Harty
December 03, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Shanshan533 | Dreamstime.com

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As the Chicago area looks to recover from the loss of 13 million trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer, a local conservation group is offering some for free. 

Openlands has planted more than 5,000 trees in the last five years and, thanks to a $1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, they hope to plant another 500 this spring.

Vice President of Community Conservation Daniella Pereira said the program not only improves the environment, it can help build neighborhoods by bringing people together.

To be considered for free trees, residents must also commit to caring for them for the first three years.

Applications are due by March 1, to be part of the spring planting in the city of Chicago and south suburbs. 

Pereira says they're focusing on the southwest part of the city near Midway Airport, where there's less green space.

What kind of trees will be planted?

"Openlands selects mostly large, urban-tolerant, native shade trees, such as oaks, northern catalpa, and Kentucky coffee trees," a spokesperson explains. "We are working to diversify the region’s tree population to reduce the risk of another disease wiping out a large number, as was the case with Emerald Ash Borer."