Volunteers plant oak trees in tornado-damaged portion of DuPage County
Boundary Hills in DuPage County is now home to 25 new oak trees thanks to local 4-H youth, community members, and organizations. The group of oak trees, known as a savanna, will help restore this tornado-damaged area, as well as supplement oak-hickory forests currently under threat in Illinois.
"Oak savannas are being overtaken by invasive species, as well as more shade-tolerant trees, such as maples," said Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H specialist. "The natural world is talking to us, and Illinois 4-H is primed to listen, learn, and act."
Illinois 4-H partnered with Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help bolster local forests by planting 950 oak trees in 38 counties this spring.
The 4-H Green Communities Tree Program tackles global issues at a local level by combining the "learn by doing" philosophy of 4-H with guidance of the Illinois Forest Action Plan.
When combined with the 2022 plantings, this effort brought a total of 1,725 new oak trees to our state.
On April 2, local volunteers -- including 4-H families, Master Gardeners, and Master Naturalists -- teamed up to plant a mix of bur, red, and white oak species in an area damaged by a June 2021 tornado.
The new savanna is a step toward restoring the site that lost an estimated 300 mature trees.
The Kane-DuPage Soil and Water Conservation District provided the trees and mulch, and staff of Woodridge Park District, University of Illinois Extension, and SWCD gave guidance and provided a tree planting demonstration.
"It was wonderful to see everyone come together and dig in to help 4-H with this effort," said Nancy Reppe, 4-H Program Coordinator in DuPage County. "Together, we're making a difference for the environment and future generations. The 4-H youth learned how to plant and mulch trees properly, and we look forward to watching these oak trees grow over time."
To help support this project, visit go.illinois.edu/4hgreencommunity.
Prairie Materials provided support for this program. Learn more about 4-H in DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties at go.illinois.edu/info4Hdkk.