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The City of Evanston’s Forestry Division is launching a program called the Blue Trees Initiative to raise public awareness of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive beetle which has already wiped out more than 2,000 ash trees in Evanston.

City Forestry crews will be painting 8-9 infested ash trees with blue paint on August 8 in the medians on Sheridan Road adjacent to Calvary Cemetery. By painting these trees, which are already scheduled to be removed, the city hopes to bring awareness to how heavily EAB has impacted Evanston’s urban forest.
The ash trees that are painted blue are tentatively scheduled to be removed on Saturday, August 24. Signs will be placed on the medians indicating why they are slated for removal.

This awareness initiative is part of the “I Heart Evanston Trees” campaign that was launched at the June 22 Tree Summit held at the Levy Senior Center. The campaign’s goal is to educate the community on how EAB has impacted Evanston’s urban forest, the importance of maintaining a healthy tree inventory in an urban area and what the city’s plans are for maintaining and increasing a diversified tree inventory.

With a growing interest in the community for protecting our trees (as is evident by the emergence of an Evanston branch of Openland’s TreeKeepers), the city will continue to educate residents about how to better care for existing trees and will recruit more volunteers to help the city and Evanston TreeKeepers during tree-keeping work days.

City staff will discuss other ways in which residents can help replace trees throughout Evanston at this event. As part of the campaign, residents will have an opportunity to donate to a tree fund that will help protect and grow Evanston’s tree population. The city’s goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of September in order to purchase 100 additional trees (all funds donated will go towards the purchase and planting of additional public trees). All donations are deductible for tax purposes.

To learn more about Evanston’s urban forest or to donate to the tree fund, please visit www.cityofevanston.org/trees.