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After 25 years of being designated a Tree City U.S.A., Evanston has an even finer distinction: It is one of only a few communities in the state to be a Silver Tree City. “There are only 11 other communities in Illinois that have a longer consecutive year streak than we do,” said Paul D’Agostino, superintendent of the City’s Parks/Forestry division. He announced the award to at the April 17 City Council meeting. “Illinois is number-two in the country for the number of tree cities.”
In addition to the Silver Tree City award, Evanston received the Tree City U.S.A. growth award, which is given to communities “that go above and beyond the tree-care requirements of the Tree City award.” Mr. D’Agostino said the City received the growth award “based on two new activities initiated in 2008: hosting a Northeast Municipal Foresters meeting workshop, at which staff reviewed the City’s practices for controlling Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer and implementing a wood-utilization program whereby forestry employees crafted benches and stools for seating from trees infested with the emerald ash borer and placed this furniture around the Ecology Center.”
Mr. D’Agostino thanked the City Council and the Parks/Forestry staff for helping maintain Evanston‘s urban forest. “The City of Evanston has continued to make improvements to our urban forestry program over the past year. Our dedicated staff has been able to maintain our elm injection program by completing 220 injections last summer in our parks and on parkways, with another 200+ scheduled for this summer. In addition to those 220 trees, we were able to have nearly 1,500 elms injected by an outside contractor.”
Last summer, said Mr. D’Agostino, losses due to Dutch elm disease were reduced to “slightly less than 2 percent of the overall population by aggressive scouting for symptoms of the disease, prompt removal of infected trees, in addition to the injection of over 2,100 of our public elms since 2005.”
Forestry crews trimmed nearly 3,600 parkway trees, he said; removed nearly 700 trees that were dead, diseased or hazardous; and planted more than 700 new trees citywide.