Arboretum Progress Update

 Photo by Kris DaPra from the Cook County Forest Preserves.

Photo by Kris DaPra from the Cook County Forest Preserves.

By Gordon Waldron

Oak Park might become the second town in the country, and the first in Illinois, to be certified as an arboretum. Oak Park Village Forester, Robert Sproule, made this announcement on Sunday, March 22, at the meeting of The Learning Gardens of Oak Park. The Village of Oak Park in cooperation with the Park District of Oak Park submitted an application on March 13, to the Morton Arboretum to have the trees in the parks and on the parkways of Oak Park certified as an arboretum and are awaiting final approval. Earlier this year, the two jurisdictions completed an electronic inventory of their trees, including the species and GPS coordinates of each tree.  Once the system is fully operational, Sproule reported, people with access to the Village of Oak Park Resident GIS Portal or Google Earth will be able to view the data. For instance, they should be able to print out on their computers a map of the trees on their block, or use their smart phones to identify the species of a tree in their vicinity. Sproule estimated that the Village and Park District jointly have about 130 species of trees.