28 trees provide framework for outdoor museum trail in Hawthorn Woods

Tree planting was in high gear Thursday as a new feature in Hawthorn Woods' Community Park and part of a continuing village initiative.

Twenty-eight trees of six carefully selected varieties were delivered and planted along the newly established Hawthorn Heritage Outdoor Museum Trail with an eye to the future.

“The idea is it will create a canopy over time,” explained Brian Sullivan, parks and recreation director. “It will improve the canopy in the community and will provide a beautiful escape.”

Varieties including serviceberry, Redmond linden, shingle oak and northern hardwood were made possible through a $15,000 federal Urban and Community Forestry grant.

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service through the direction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and administered by Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Hawthorn Woods was among 27 communities and park districts to receive urban and community forestry grants in 2022.

In Lake County, Grayslake, Lake Bluff, Bannockburn, Deerfield and Buffalo Grove also received funding for the program meant to improve the health, diversity and equitable distribution of trees in the region.

The heritage outdoor museum trail at Community Park encircles a small wetland area. It was initiated by an Eagle Scout project that resulted in the recent dedication of the Phoebe Snetsinger Memorial Garden to include an informational sign.

Snetsinger, a Hawthorn Woods native, traveled the globe and became a renowned birder.

A number of similar information stations and corresponding pollinator gardens are planned for what is envisioned as a living museum.

“Each one will have distinct relevance to a historical figure or historical event as Hawthorn Woods grew,” Sullivan said. The tree planting is the impetus to proceed sooner rather than later, he added.

Besides the new feature, the tree planting also forwards continuing ongoing initiatives throughout the community.

“We are considered an environmentally progressive community, without a doubt,” said Kim Stewart, communications coordinator.

Besides this grant, the village last year also received a $25,000 CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up grant to complete the second phase of the Indian Creek Preserve reforestation project. Monarch Watch also contributed 144 free milkweed plants for the pollinator meadow there.

Village officials last year approved an Urban Forest Management Plan with a goal to increase the urban tree canopy in town from 26% to 31% by 2033.

“We think we can do even better than that with the help of our residents,” said Pam Newton, the village's chief operating officer.

Expanding the canopy helps neutralize global warming by lowering surface temperature, stabilizing soil and improving air and water quality, she added.

Stewart said the village is awaiting word on $25,000 from a new funding program administered by the Morton Arboretum to buy 131 trees. The trees will be planted at Meadowland Park and Arboretum, Brierwoods Preserve and Woodland Park.

On May 6, the village's sustainability committee will be distributing 600 free tree saplings to residents, along with information on planting techniques and ongoing care. The event is from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center, 94 Midlothian Road.

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  Brian Sullivan, director of parks and recreation for Hawthorn Woods, talks with George White, left, and Florencio Luna of the Country Bumpkin Garden Center as they plant one of 28 trees along the newly established outdoor museum trail in Community Park. Mick Zawislak/
  Brian Sullivan, director of parks and recreation for Hawthorn Woods, watches the progress as Florencio Luna, left, and George White of the Country Bumpkin Garden Center plant a tree along the outdoor museum trail in Community Park. Mick Zawislak/
  One of 28 trees is planted Thursday along the outdoor museum trail in Community Park in Hawthorn Woods. The trees are a new feature in the park and part of a continuing village initiative to increase the tree canopy. Mick Zawislak/
  Twenty-eight trees were planted Thursday along the newly established Hawthorn Heritage Outdoor Museum Trail in Community Park in Hawthorn Woods. Mick Zawislak/
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