McKinley Park Community Garden members and supporters give away oak tree saplings on June 11, 2016, at Sustainability Saturday.

Trees a Springtime Focus for McKinley Park

Published June 14, 2016

Efforts by community groups and City of Chicago officials and staffers are bringing a focus to the trees of McKinley Park, part of a broader push to green the neighborhood and restore a tree canopy devastated by the emerald ash borer and stressed by climate change.

As first noted by 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas at an April 2016 community meeting, tree trimming and removal has been underway throughout the spring, with all 2015 trimming requests now completed by the Department of Forestry. Meanwhile, the McKinley Park Community Garden and the alderman have promoted tree planting by distributing free oak tree saplings at the garden's Sustainability Saturday event this past Saturday, June 11.

12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas helps give away trees at Sustainability Saturday, June 11, 2016.12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas helps give away trees at Sustainability Saturday.Part of the Restore the Canopy program, the oak trees saplings were provided for free courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in an effort to increase the number of trees among Chicago's depleted canopy. This is a focus because trees add value to neighborhoods by reducing flooding and air and noise pollution; they help the local environment by keeping neighborhoods cooler and providing protection from wind; and they add to property values by creating a pleasant, shaded environment. The oak trees distributed by the program are native to the area and include red oak, bur oak, pin oak and shingle oak trees, all of which are great for mitigating stormwater runoff.

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The City of Chicago makes many resources available for residents who want to have a tree planted in their parkway, including an online guide, a tree request form and an urban tree planting list that details the tree options available for planting by the city. Residents may also call 311, or call the 12th Ward office at (773) 523-8250, to request a tree for their parkway.

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