Restoring Blue Island's Tree Canopy

$4,805 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 18 months
Blue Island is a City of Trees.

Let's keep this natural resource strong for the future. Trees not only add tremendous beauty, but they are also an important economic asset to Blue Island. Trees help reduce flooding by trapping stormwater, they keep buildings cool and save energy, they reduce the damaging effects of sun on our streets, and they purify our most important asset -- the air we breathe.

You, your children and their children all will benefit from the Blue Island Trees Campaign.

By means of private donations, this campaign will be moving forward with a plan to plant 70 trees throughout the residential parkways in the Spring/Early Fall of 2018.

The intent is to plant a minimum of 10 trees per ward as every area has been hit by emerald ash borer infestation as well as the aging tree canopy.

Raising at least $6,000 by February 28 is the goal.

Please make your donation right now. Any amount will help, but you can really help get this started with $50 or $100 or more.

Blue Island residents now—and for decades to come— will be grateful for the help you give.

Who is Managing The Campaign?

This campaign is a collaboration of 4th Ward Aldermen Bill Fahrenwald and Tom Hawley along with Val Kehoe, community volunteer, certified arborist and a Horticulture Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension - Urbana/Champaign.

Why is Blue Island's Tree Canopy Disappearing?

Of the five varieties planted to replace trees lost to the Dutch Elm disease in the 1960s and '70s, many were white and green ash trees. These trees have either died, been removed or taken down as a preventative measure. The City of Blue Island has been unable to replace these trees for several years now. 

How Will Tree Locations Be Selected?

The biggest component of the campaign is community involvement. It starts with your donation, which will permit us to consider requests for trees to be planted in parkways at specific addresses.

City officials and volunteer coordinator will visit each site to determine feasability and species selection, which will be based on the appropriate type of tree for street parkways, utility location, etc.

Trees will be acquired from a local certified nursery.

In order to diversify Blue Island's tree canopy we are looking at a wide variety of species, including Ironwood, Hackberry, American Linden, Red and Swamp Oak, as well as Kentucky Coffee Tree.

The homeownser's wishes will be taken into consideration.

Finally, Who Plants Them?

On planting days, volunteers will be needed, including representatives from each address where trees are to be planted. Those residents will be required to monitor their individual tree's health, and to be sure each tree receives at least 15 gallons of water each week, April through October, for three years.

When people think of trees, they think of shade, birds, wildlife and kids playing. Trees offer a place for people to relax and to connect with the outdoors.

Please Donate Now!
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Time is get your "green" on in Blue Island.

The 2019 Spring Tree Planting is happening in collaboration with Eisenhower High School, US Forestry, The Student Conservation Association and Morton Arboretum. The schedule is below and these dates will be here before we know it so please spread the good word.

April 3rd 3:30-4:30 A presentation about importance of trees and overview of the initiative will be given to students, teachers, and neighbors.

April 9th 1:00- 4:00 A training planting day for Eisenhower Students.Up to 15 trees can be planted on School Property with experienced Student Conservation Association. Staff, US Forester and Morton Arboretum to offer hands-on training.

April 13th 9:00-1:00 Community Planting Day!
All are invited!!!
The students and staff of Eisenhower along with community members will plant between 60 to 65 parkway trees at predetermined sites within the walking distance of 8 blocks from Eisenhower High School.Details for community planting day are here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, AND TO SIGN UP: VISIT: eventbrite.com/e/sca-day-of-service-in-blue-island-il-Wckets-57544617500

*The Student Conservation Association will be able to provide some maintenance of these trees over the summer. Also, there is an opportunity for Eisenhower Students to receive an internship with SCA for this summer.

Please contact me for more details.
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Volunteers are needed!
The next planting is scheduled for Saturday, September 22, and up to 60 trees will be planted in parkways and yards, particularly in the northwest side of Blue Island.
We will be meeting at two Blue Island Schools, breaking up into groups of 4-5 and planting a few trees within an eight block radius.
When: Saturday September 22nd 8:30 am to 1pm (yet come/stay when you can)
Where: Veteran Memorial Intermediate 12320 Greenwood Ave.
& Kerr Middle School 12915 Maple Ave
Sign Up Below:
Veteran Memorial Intermediate School
Blue Island Community Tree Planting, Saturday, September 22

Kerr Middle School
Blue Island Community Tree Planting, Sat. 9/22 Kerr Middle

The funding, materials and labor came from local residents, as well as Openlands and Morton Arboretum. Volunteers are needed for the planting. If you have requested a tree, you will be contacted shortly (this weekend) to sign a maintenance agreement.
It is through the collaborative efforts of the volunteers, the community and these organizations that we have far exceeded our original goal. All requests will be honored, and we are looking forward to building a greener Blue Island.

So Grateful to All!
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Hello -

The next planting is set for Saturday, September 22, and up to 60 trees will be planted in parkways and yards, particularly in the northwest side of Blue Island. Meeting places will be at Kerr and Veteran Memorial middle schools. The funding, materials and labor come from local residents, as well as Openlands and the Morton Arboretum. Volunteers are needed for the planting. If you have requested a tree, you will be contacted shortly to sign a maintenance agreement.

Approximately 40 trees were planted in May throughout the southeast side of Blue Island. They were acquired with money raised through this GoFundMe campaign. It was supplemented with a matching grant from Openlands, a Northeastern Illinois conservation organization, and additional help from Morton Arboretum. With the help of the community, we have exceeded our goal and will plant 85 trees by the end of the year.

For 2019, this grassroots campaign has received a Greater Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant from the U.S. Forest Service, the Student Conservation Association, the Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Morton Arboretum. That grant will fund the planting of 75 more trees in the spring and fall of 2019. More details to come.

It is through the collaborative efforts of the volunteers, the community and these organizations that we have far exceeded our original goal. All requests will be honored, and we are looking forward to building a greener Blue Island.

See you on September 22nd!

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Updates from this Spring Season in Blue Island.
(the tree planting season).

This citizen-driven campaign to plant 70 trees in Blue Island parkways will meet its goal this year by securing funding, matching grants and a donation of the trees.

Thank you for your support of this campaign. Truly, this initiative would not of happened without your backing. A total of 39 Trees were planted by 40+ volunteers over the course of one presentation, “The Benefits of Trees by Morton Arboretum” and two training/planting days. Partnerships have been formed with Morton Arboretum and Openlands. Spring tree requests have been honored in the 1st through 5th Wards in our town. This initiative will be continuing into the fall of 2018 in the remaining Blue Island Wards. All 30+ requests will be honored, provided that growing conditions and proper care can be given.

Monies Spent thus far from the Go Fund Me Page.

First through Third Ward’s training/planting day, 8 trees from Possibility Place 8 trees were purchased from Possibility Place including materials $900.00 was spent. Meeting locations were John Rita’s (BI) Rec Center and Esparzas Restaurant. There were also delicious food donations from the Randy and Marcia Heuser.

Fourth and Fifth Ward’s a Matching Grant was secured from Openlands, which allowed 30 trees to be planted, $1500.00 will be gifted to Openlands. Tools and mulch were provided by Openlands. Meeting locations Hart Park and after-party at Blue Island Brewery. There were also generous food donations from local businesses:
• McDonalds –30+coffee and water
• Iversons- 2 big crates of chocolate donuts
• Dunkin Donuts- 3 dozen donuts
• Jewel- fruit
• Beggars Pizza- 2 family size pizzas

That leaves the Fund with little over $2,000.00 which should work out perfectly. Another matching grant from Openlands has been applied for and Morton Arboretum has offered a 15 tree donation come the fall. Again, 1 to 2 Planting day will be scheduled in September &/or October.

In 2019, another grant opportunity is in the works, the same High Quality Midwest Native Trees will be planted. *So if there is new interest for a parkways tree, please reach out to an Aldermen, Public Works or myself as there is now a working document that all can collaborate on.

Whether the support came from a donation, email, Facebook post, or assisting on planting days. Everyone had a part to play. The spring has been wonderful for the City of Blue Island and its active, involved citizens. We have had some great publicity from the Forum, Beverly Review and Southtown Articles as well as video from Ben Tomera. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJSyUvjpm_Y

No doubt, I speak for Bill Fahrenwald and Tom Hawley, it is because people supported this Go Fund Me Page that the interest grew. We are most grateful to the wonderful people who became involved with this project, it has been real pleasure to meet and work with everyone.

Enjoy this summer and I will be reaching out again come early fall.

Sincerely, Val

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$4,805 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 84 people in 18 months
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