District awarded grant to boost urban tree canopy

June 10, 2024 01:30 PM

The Skokie Park District has been awarded a $53,180 subgrant by The Morton Arboretum’s Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) to improve its community tree canopy.

Through this subgrant, the Skokie Park District will plant 20 trees in Winnebago Park to create a community fruit orchard, perform community engagement, hire staff to support the work, and train staff in advanced arboriculture techniques.

“Skokie Park District staff are extraordinarily grateful for this important grant, which will benefit the residents of Skokie and the neighbors of Winnebago Park for many years to come,” said the district’s Horticulture Supervisor Jim Hallm.

The Winnebago project was presented at today’s Morton Arboretum CRTI press conference by the district’s Hannah Kosiek, horticulture specialist and certified arborist. (See photo.)

The competitive subgrant is among 17 provided to government entities through Inflation Reduction Act funding to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, administered by CRTI. The four-year grants, which do not require matching funds, are available for communities that meet the federal requirements as disadvantaged. The funding can be used for projects that increase tree canopy, improve forest health and create or enhance community forestry programs.

All grant-funded projects must also complete the development or enhancement of a tree protection ordinance or policy that sets standards of care for newly planted trees and helps to ensure the tree canopy is maintained and protected long after the grant ends.

“Improving the distribution of trees and green spaces directly impacts the health and economic outcomes for communities,” said CRTI Director Zach Wirtz. “Projects like this improve quality of life and boost the urban tree canopy’s resilience to threats posed by climate change, pests and diseases.”

Funding support for this project was provided by the Inflation Reduction Act through the Urban and Community Forestry Programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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