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Chicago Museums Join The Morton Arboretum To Raise Awareness Of Trees This Arbor Day

A woman holds out a tree tag on a large conifer near the entrance of the Shedd Aquarium.
A woman helps tag trees in front of the Shedd Aquarium.
March 29, 2016

Lining city streets and dotting parks and open spaces, trees are silent champions. They pluck pollutants out of the air, create a greater sense of safety and community in our neighborhoods and add natural beauty to our cities. But in an urban forest, defined as trees that live alongside people in larger cities and suburbs, trees are challenged to survive without human intervention and care. 

This year, ten premier cultural institutions in the city and western suburbs have partnered to support the Arboretum in championing trees, taking part in the Arboretum’s 2016 Tree Tagging Campaign to draw attention to the importance of trees in our lives, and to motivate Chicagoans to be a “tree champion” in their neighborhoods.

Staff and volunteers from the following institutions will show their support by hanging tags on their trees:


Also joining us will be The Field Museum, which will light its building green for Arbor Day. 

For the past four years, The Morton Arboretum has mobilized a team of corporate and staff volunteers to distribute nearly 5,000 tags on trees across the Chicago area to celebrate Arbor Day. In addition to the aforementioned museums, trees on streets throughout Chicago will again feature the public awareness tags, encouraging Chicagoans to “Be a Tree Champion.” 

“The Morton Arboretum's Arbor Day Tree Tagging Campaign is one of my favorite events of the year because it brings attention to some of the most vital parts of our ecosystem,” said Christine Nye, manager of horticultural programs at Shedd Aquarium. “People often take trees for granted, seeing them as just part of the background. In our sustainable gardens at Shedd Aquarium, we give as much love and attention to our trees as we do our animals. This event praises these silent companions that give us oxygen, beauty and create a matrix of life in our various eco-spheres.”

“The DuSable Museum of African American History is pleased and honored to ‘Du Something’ and join with The Morton Arboretum and our members, family, and friends, across the state to celebrate the glory of trees in our lives,” said Jacqueline Williams, director of development at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Along with the museum partners, The Morton Arboretum thanks the City of Chicago, Chicago Loop Alliance, the Oak Street Council, ABC7 Chicago and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative for their support of this event.

The Tree Tagging Campaign is part of the Arboretum’s Chicago Arbor Day outreach, which also includes an April 29 Arbor Day Celebration at Daley Plaza, including a one-of-a-kind “living billboard” and a Pop-Up Plant Clinic, where the Arboretum’s tree and plant experts will offer free advice to anyone looking to be a better steward of trees.

Arbor Day and The Morton Arboretum
As part of its mission to plant and save trees, The Morton Arboretum has a unique connection to Arbor Day. To encourage the planting of trees, the first Arbor Day was organized in tree-barren Nebraska in 1872 by Secretary of Agriculture J. Sterling Morton, father of Joy Morton who later founded the Arboretum. The Morton family motto was “Plant Trees,” which inspired Joy Morton, president of the Morton Salt Company in Chicago, to carry on that legacy at his estate in west suburban Lisle, where he established an arboretum, or outdoor museum of trees, in 1922. Today, all 50 states and many countries around the world recognize Arbor Day in honor of trees and their value to us. Arbor Day in Illinois is the last Friday in April, but other states observe Arbor Day on different dates according to their best tree-planting times.