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The Chicago Region Trees Initiative's work groups have developed the following projects and programs to work towards achieving our vision that trees will be more healthy, more abundant, more diverse, and more equitably distributed to provide needed benefits to all people and the wildlife that live in the Chicago Region. Click below to learn more about each program.


A forestry mentor network that helps communities with limited training resources and opportunities connect to experienced and well-educated foresters through quarterly meetings where public and private arborists learn about urban forestry management topics from peers and share professional experiences. Previous topics include Managing Tree Risk, Approaches to Tree Planting Programs, and Grant Writing for Tree Planting.
Members of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative work hard to protect the trees and help the residents in this region. The annual CRTI Urban Forestry Awards are our chance to recognize their efforts at our annual October Partner Recognition Celebration. The awards go to people, organizations (public and private), and communities that go above and beyond. Make a nomination here.
Confused about some of the terms used on this website? Check out this glossary.
By combining forest composition, canopy cover, operational capacity, and socio-economic data, we are able to start looking for patterns and identifying priority areas for improving the urban forest. We are currently analyzing all of the information we have to establish areas within our region with the greatest need and interest for capacity building and tree planting and stewardship. The municipal canopy summaries found on the interactive map capture the canopy cover, plantable space, and relative proportion of land use types for each municipality, plus a comparison of those characteristics to similar communities. In communities with sufficient tree species inventory data, the summaries also characterize species composition.
The Morton Arboretum developed a thorough list of trees that grow well in Northern Illinois and the site conditions in which they thrive. That information was used as the basis for their Northern Illinois Tree Selector, an online tool that uses your site conditions to provide a list of trees well-suited to your site and preferences. Using the online Tree Selector is a great way to increase the species diversity- and therefore the resilience, beauty, and habitat potential- of your property. Knowing which species would grow well on your site is only half the battle. Once you've decided on the right tree, this list displays nurseries that have answered a survey regarding tree inventory in March and August of each year.
Oaks represent strength and stature. In fact, the white oak is the Illinois State Tree! These trees work for us by cleaning our air and water, reducing ambient air temperature and usage of energy. They reduce flooding and support our native wildlife. Our oaks, and trees in general, improve our well-being and support a sense of community, but they need our help! Every individual, organization, community, park district, forest preserve, and public or private landowner or manager can play an important role in celebrating oaks and oak ecosystems across Illinois throughout the month of October— OAKtober!
Chicago Region Trees Initiative partners developed a Tree Care Door Hanger that can be used in conjunction with resident outreach. Arborists, community groups, and volunteer teams can distribute the door hangers while visiting residents. The door hangers are made of a laminated, durable cardstock that can be left on doors with contact information at the bottom if residents are unavailable at the time of the visit.
An effective tree preservation ordinance is one that is based on an urban forest management plan (UFMP; see our template here). However, many Governmental Entities do not have an UFMP in place. We have provided a three tiered ordinance structure which allows your Governmental Entity a point to become engaged and opportunities to move to a higher level of ordinance as your time and resources permit.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative reaches out every two years to municipalities, park districts, and other land managers with a survey to determine the operational capacity of the Chicago Region– that is, how capable are public land managers of maintaining and improving their portions of the urban forest?
Full day training on tree selection, planting, and care for non-arborists and individuals who work with trees- and have the opportunity to affect the health of trees. Urban Forestry Basic Trainings are held twice per year in English at changing locations around the region. Efforts are underway to coordinate a Spanish-language training opportunity.