April 27, 2018

Chicago Celebrates Arbor Day with Tree Planting at Neil Elementary School

The City to Plant Nearly 4,000 New Trees this Year in Neighborhoods across Chicago

Marjani Williams    marjani.williams@cityofchicago.org 312/502-5321

CHICAGO – Chicago First Lady Amy Rule joined, Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer and Streets and Sanitation (DSS) Commissioner John Tully today in celebrating Arbor Day with a tree planting ceremony at Jane A. Neil Elementary School.

Crews planted nearly 40 new trees today to help restore the landscape around Neil Elementary.  In 2014, trees along the perimeter of the school were removed by DSS after they were found to be infested by Emerald Ash Borers (EAB) to protect other trees in the area.

“Tree planting is an investment in the quality of life for all Chicagoans,” said DSS Commissioner John Tully. “Every year our crews work to maintain and protect the City’s landscape to keep every neighborhood in Chicago healthy, vibrant and beautiful.” 

Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel, the City has planted more than 38,000 trees in communities across Chicago since 2011. In 2018, the City will plant an additional 4,000 new trees in neighborhoods across Chicago. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will plant approximately 475 of these new trees this year through the GreenStreets program and following infrastructure improvement projects.

“Planting trees on the public way is a long-standing tradition for “the City in a Garden” and CDOT includes trees when it rebuilds major roads, improves streetscapes and works with Aldermen on neighborhood improvement projects,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. 

In addition to tree planting, DSS’s Bureau of Forestry also maintains more than 500,000 parkway trees a year, addressing insect and disease problems and tree trimming and removals. Annually, the Department  invests more than $2 million to plant trees in neighborhoods across the City that have seen a significant amount of tree removals, utilizing a diverse set of tree species to enhance and protect the urban canopy.

As a result of these efforts, Chicago was recognized for the 36th year in a row, as a "Tree City USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation for continuing to meet core standards of sound urban forestry management.  Chicago has an estimated 157 million trees on both public and private property, which cover 15.5 percent of the area, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Chicago's urban forest removes approximately 677,000 tons of carbon per year and about 18,080 tons of air pollution annually.

Residents who have had a parkway tree removed recently and would like to request a new tree to be planted on the parkway should call 311 for assistance. 

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