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.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative recognizes the current challenges that we all face and wants to help communities look to a brighter future with the planting of a tree — a tangible symbol of hope. The Plant Trees for Communities initiative is the first step toward our common goal to rebuild the Chicago region’s urban forest to improve our quality of life.
The Plant Trees Digital Campaign was created as a collaborative campaign designed to reach a broad public audience with messages about how trees provide critical benefits for our quality of life. Knowledge about these important benefits will help inspire homeowners and community members to take action, and resources from our wide range of partners will help them successfully plant and care for trees for the long term.
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.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) Corporate Sustainability Partnership Program connects sustainability-minded corporations with impactful projects and dedicated partners that enable companies to achieve their goals related to areas such as ecosystem improvement, environmental equity, energy conservation, or air and water quality.
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.
CRTI Video Library
These short videos have been developed to provide quick science-supported information on why and how to manage trees.
- Trees: Your Community's Best Investment - released 11/8/2018, Part of the Tree Risk Toolkit, designed to help forestry professionals advocate for tree maintenance support.
- Trees Are Infrastructure - released 6/9/2020
The goal of the Oak Ecosystems Recovery Project Plan is to implement the recommendations of the Chicago Wilderness Oak Ecosystems Recovery Plan by working collaboratively with partners across the region. The following projects are components of this project.
OAKtober- Oak Awareness Month. 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!
- Oaks Need Our Help brochure. A brochure that shares how homeowners, landowners, and individuals can create a better future for oak trees
Oaks Need Our Help powerpoint. An editable PowerPoint presentation that shares what challenges are being face by oak ecosystems and what can be done to help. PDF version
Witness Trees of Illinois. Find trees that helped map Illinois! We’re looking for a special kind of witness tree: the historic trees that helped map the state of Illinois. We're asking residents to visit the sites of bearing trees and record information about remaining witness trees left in Illinois, using an interactive map.
- Healthy Brochure Series. Check out these resources for inspriring homeowners and landscape contractors to improve the ecological health of the spaces around them. This series includes Healthy Hedges (to replace invasive hedges in backyards), Healthy Homes (to improve the health and conservation practices in your yard), and Healthy Habitats (management practices for large properties).
Every spring, CRTI opens up a tree planting grant opportunity for commnnity groups in the seven county Chicago Region. Groups can request 10-20 trees, which will be planted with volunteers the following autumn.
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. 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?
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 Partner Recognition Celebration. The awards go to people, organizations (public and private), and communities that go above and beyond. Make a nomination here.
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.
Confused about some of the terms used on this website? Check out this glossary.
Looking for pictures from one of our events? Check here.