Forest trees can live for over 100 years, but urban trees, forced to contend with pollution and limited space for growth, usually survive for only about fifteen years unless they receive special attention—approximately 1,000 trees die in Chicago every year due to neglect. That's why, since 1991, TreeKeepers have worked throughout the city to keep its trees healthy, administering proper care and promptly recognizing and reporting harmful pests, such as the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive beetle from Asia that targets and kills ash trees. Fall 2011 TreeKeepers classes begin September 10, at the American Indian Center, 1630 West Wilson Avenue, in Chicago. For complete information on the classes, and to view and download a copy of the Fall 2011 TreeKeepers brochure go to the Openlands website.
Participants in the seven-week program meet every Saturday morning for three hours of hands-on instruction in topics that include basic tree planting and care, species identification, and how to recognize diseases and pests. A low fee of $100 covers the cost of class materials. Financial assistance is available. Classes are taught by professionals from Bartlett Tree Experts, The Care of Trees, Chicago Bureau of Forestry, Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Environment, and the Morton Arboretum, as well as other expert arborists. After completing the coursework, TreeKeeper trainees must pass field tests and a final exam—some institutions grant college credit for the class.
TreeKeepers classes are sponsored by Openlands. Founded in 1963, Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.
In addition to conserving land and waterways, Openlands conducts thoughtful research, advocates for sound conservation policies, and helps individuals and communities care for their open spaces.