The public is invited to celebrate spring with a fun, local effort to build up the oak tree population in Illinois.
The Illinois Extension 4-H and the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (AISWCD) Forestry Committee, along with Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, invite the public to a tree planting at Loud Thunder.
Rock Island County 4-H youth and their families will plant oak trees from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve in Illinois City on the horse corral site, according to a news release.
This effort to create mini oak savannas across the state is meant to raise awareness of our diminishing oak forests and to educate youth and community members on the value of native oak forests and oak trees to Illinois.
For more information, contact Jeffrey Craver, Forest Preserve District director, firstname.lastname@example.org
To build on the Extension 4-H Green Communities Tree Program, funding partners were sought and volunteers from across the state were recruited. After a successful 2022 planting campaign across 31 Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the spring 2023 planting will include 38 Illinois counties; from Winnebago in the north to Massac in the south and Edgar on the east to Adams on the west.
Funding for the two years of tree planting was provided by Illinois Forestry Development Council, University of Illinois Extension Foundation and AISWCD. The statewide tree planting initiative is coordinated at the local level by Extension 4-H, and the local Soil and Water Conservation District. Each participating District is supplied with 25 Oak trees to be planted on a public site within the district.
Rock Island County SWCD is one of this year’s 38 statewide participants. A total of 950 four-foot-tall potted oak trees supplied by Forrest Keeling Nursery of Elsberry, Missouri will be planted this spring.
Throughout Illinois and the Midwest, oak forests are diminishing and being overtaken by less desirable beech and maple. It is projected that some Illinois oak/hickory forests particularly in southwest Illinois, will be completely overtaken by beech and maple by 2050 if management practices aren’t soon initiated. The emphasis of this partnership tree planting project is to raise awareness of diminishing oak forests and to educate youth and community members on the value of native oak forests and oak trees to Illinois.
Each participating SWCD will receive 10 White Oak, 10 Red Oak, and 5 Bur Oak trees.
The actual planting of the oak savannas is being done by local 4-H members and volunteers. Rock Island County SWCD chose Loud Thunder Forest Preserve in Illinois City as the planting site.