Sweeping branches, lush green canopies, stately trunks soaring to great heights—trees are inspiring with their magnificence and their influence on lives and communities. In celebration of the Chicago region’s trees, The Morton Arboretum and Openlands are partnering to launch Tree-mendous Tree Stories, an online collection of curated stories highlighting people’s connections to trees.
Tree-mendous Tree Stories will debut on April 27, Arbor Day, a tree-planting holiday also dedicated to caring for and paying tribute to trees. Beginning on Arbor Day, people can submit stories about Chicago-area trees they cherish, remember from childhood, or honor for special meaning at their homes, in their neighborhoods, or at other favorite places.
Those who submit a story have the option of tagging it geographically and under a number of themes, including family, history, holiday, or travel. Contributors also have the opportunity to share a photo, video, and audio file to complement their story. Visitors to the Tree-mendous Tree Stories website can peruse an ever-growing collection of stories, with the ability to filter tree tales based on a theme, location, or type of tree.
In addition to enjoying the stories, visitors to the site can also find out how to get involved in tree conservation. The platform provides information about Openlands TreeKeepers, volunteers who work throughout the region to keep trees healthy, and showcases the Arboretum’s Woodland Stewardship Program, a training and certificate program for volunteers in natural areas restoration. Users also can learn about the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, a coalition established by the Arboretum and focused on coordinated action on key issues facing trees. Additional information highlights Openlands TreePlanters Grants, which provide new trees to communities in the City of Chicago. Tree planting and care tips are also among the resources available to visitors.
“Arbor Day is a fitting occasion to reflect on and celebrate the role and significance of Chicago-area trees in your own life,” said Gerry Donnelly, President and CEO of The Morton Arboretum. “Sharing stories about trees you love is a way to raise the profile of trees, and recognize and appreciate the good they do for people, communities, and the environment.”
“Trees are often one of the earliest memories people have with the natural world around them,” said Jerry Adelmann, President and CEO of Openlands. “They hold a special place in our imaginations and in our connections with nature. We’re excited to hear stories of special trees from our friends and neighbors across the Chicago region.”
Tree-mendous Tree Stories can be found at tree-stories.org.