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An understory tree (@15-25′), like a redbud or serviceberry Credit: Photo provided by Natural Habitat Evanston

Spring has officially arrived and Natural Habitat Evanston aims to be ahead of the game, recently announcing an offer of free native trees, shrubs and wildflowers to interested Fifth Ward residents. 

The plants are available for homes, places of worship and nonprofits in the Fifth Ward. 

According to their website, Natural Habitat Evanston is a program out of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, a nonprofit working to make Evanston more environmentally sustainable.

The plants will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

A shade tree (@60-80′ tall), e.g., an oak Credit: Photo provided by Natural Habitat Evanston

The nonprofit created a Google form for people to indicate their interest, and in it, they explain that trees offset urban heat and provide shade that cools homes and streets when climate change causes uncharacteristically hot weather. 

Native trees, shrubs and wildflowers generally provide a great habitat for birds, butterflies and other insects, especially endangered ones. The wildflowers that Natural Habitat Evanston will distribute are intended to be host plants for the endangered rusty patched bumble bee. 

The options for trees vary, from a height of 15 feet tall to 80 feet tall. People have the option of choosing from an oak tree, hackberry or understory tree. 

There also are options for shrubs, depending on the type of soil and sunlight available. For both shrubs and trees, community volunteers from Treekeepers and Natural Habitat Evanston will help provide regular after-care once the trees and shrubs are planted.

Interested Fifth Ward residents can fill out the Google form here

Debbie-Marie Brown

Debbie-Marie Brown is a reporter and Racial Justice Fellow at the Evanston RoundTable. They cover the local reparations initiative, Black life in Evanston, and the 5th ward. Contact Debbie-Marie at dmb@evanstonroundtable.com...

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