Campaign Launched to Restore Blue Island Tree Canopy
BLUE ISLAND, IL—January 11, 2018 (James Street Media Services)—Private donations are “growing” a new GoFundMe campaign to plant a minimum of 10 trees per ward in each of the City of Blue Island’s seven wards.
In the first month of the campaign, more than $2,300 was given by some 35 donors toward the ultimate $10,000 goal.
The campaign was launched by Blue Island resident and arborist Val Kehoe—along with Aldermen Bill Fahrenwald and Tom Hawley—because the city has lost many of its trees to the emerald ash borer infestation, as well as age.
“Our historic city, settled more than 180 years ago, is distinguished by its mature and beautiful tree canopy,” Kehoe said. “It’s not just the character they give Blue Island. The trees are also an important economic asset.”
Kehoe said Blue Island’s trees help reduce flooding by trapping storm water, keep buildings cool and save energy, and reduce the damaging effects of sun on city streets.
“Plus, they protect and purify our most important asset—the air we breathe,” she said.
Kehoe, a horticulture coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension, notes that of the five varieties planted to replace trees lost to the Dutch Elm disease in the 1960s and 1970s, many were white and green ash trees. These trees were either cut down as a preventative measure, or have since died and been removed. The City of Blue Island has been unable to afford the replacement of these trees.
A Community Effort
The biggest component of the GoFundMe campaign is community involvement, starting with individual donations.
Kehoe and her group are also accepting requests for trees to be planted in parkways at specific addresses. City officials and a volunteer coordinator will visit each site to determine feasibility 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, Hills oak, Swamp oak, and Kentucky coffee tree.
The homeowner's wishes will be taken into consideration.
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.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/BItrees.