Evanston’s large tree population has been a source of pride for residents for generations. However, maintaining the health of Evanston’s urban forest becomes a challenge every time an exotic disease or insect pest is introduced to the area.

To address the challenges and opportunities related to Evanston’s tree population, the City of Evanston’s Parks/Forestry Division and the Openlands Branch of Evanston TreeKeepers are co-sponsoring a special event that will combine education and entertainment. The “Tree Summit: Save Evanston’s Urban Forest,” will be held 10 a.m. to noon on June 22 in the Garden Center outside of the Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave. 

Speakers at the Summit will include Wally Bobkiewicz, City Manager; Paul D’Agostino, Assistant Director of Public Works for Parks/Forestry; and Wendy Pollock, Evanston TreeKeeper. Entertainment and activities are being finalized; light refreshments will be served, and there will be give-aways that will help residents lead a “greener” life. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

The latest threat to Evanston’s leafy streets and boulevards is the Emerald Ash Borer, which has destroyed approximately 2,000 of Evanston’s 4,000 public ash trees. It is likley only a matter of time before the remaining ash trees will die.

At the summit, residents will learn more about the negative impacts from losing so many trees, such as lowered air quality and carbon dioxide levels, and what steps are possible to maintain Evanston’s tree population. Community members will be given a chance to support an enhanced tree-planting program and to take action together to save Evanston’s urban forest.

More information about the tree summit and the outreach initiative is available by contacting Kelsey Atkinson at 311 or katkinson@cityofevanston.org.