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The City of Evanston is expanding its tree donation program to provide more opportunities for people to keep Evanston a thriving Tree City USA. There are now three different ways to give a “green gift” that keeps growing. Donations may be directed to plant a new tree; dedicate an existing tree as a special gift or memorial; or support the city’s new Urban Reforestation Fund.

A new tree can be planted in any Evanston park for a donation of $600. A living tree will improve the park’s appearance, reduce greenhouse gases and provide shade. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. All tree donations will be recognized on the City of Evanston’s web site.

An existing tree in the Memorial section of the Ladd Arboretum may be dedicated for a contribution beginning at $300; the price varies based on tree size and type. There also is limited space for new memorial trees; prices range from $400 to $600. A name plate will be place near the trunk of the tree selected. These gifts not only enhance the community, but serve as a longstanding memorial to a loved one or commemoration of a special occasion.

Each year storms caused extensive damage to public trees. In order to help the city recover from these and other types of storms, a new urban reforestation fund is being established to help maintain Evanston’s parkway and park trees. In addition to storm damage, Evanston’s public trees face attrition due to disease and age. All donations of $25 or more made to this fund will be recognized on the City of Evanston’s web site.

In addition to the memorial tree program, the city’s memorial bench program is still in place. For $500, a name plate will be added to an existing bench. For a $1,000 donation, a new bench with a name plate will be placed in a park.

Please visit www.cityofevanston.org/parks for downloadable donation forms. Gifts are deductible for federal income tax purposes as allowed by law. Call 847/448-8260 for more information or to ask that a form be mailed to you.