I don’t remember a time in my life when I have been so in need and so inspired by the curative power of nature! I think every person who is able to get outside during this difficult time is grateful for the smell of spring in the air and those beautiful shades of green that are beginning to appear all around us -- those little plants peeking out through the leaf litter, the yellow and orange buds that are getting ready to break, or the sounds of the birds perched in the branches of our trees.
I know that some of you are struggling to work from home, others may have been furloughed or have had to shutter your business and be put into the difficult position of laying off staff, and then there are those who are continuing to work as before, many facing extreme risks to health and safety. This is a very stressful and difficult time.
Now, more than ever before, we need the restorative power of nature around us to relieve stress and give us strength to get through this difficult time. Access to nature for some of us may mean simply walking out our front door and down the street where we are surrounded by beautiful trees, and the chirping of birds and squirrels. For others it may mean walking to a neighborhood park or preserve only a few minutes away to be immersed in a similar experience. But for others, neither option is possible. Here in the Chicago region, it should be everyone’s right to be able to walk out our front door and be able to experience nature! Everyone should have access to a beautiful tree lined street with birds and squirrels.
We will get through this difficult time, and when we do, we need to recommit to continue to work together to be sure that we all have ready access to nature – including mature healthy trees in our neighborhoods and along the streets where we live.
I wish for you health and safety during this very difficult time and look forward to continuing to work together to improve the health of our urban forest and our quality of life.
Director of CRTI
P.S. We've compiled some resources to help partners make the most of this tough time, including some items to share with constituents. You can find them here.