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Illinois 2020 - Re-Oaking the Midwest

Planting Location: Various elementary and High schools all over Illinois

Project Description/Objective: Over the last 150 years, there has been a decline in tree diversity along the shorelines of the Midwest’s major rivers as hardwood trees have been depleted for fuel and building materials, and by flooding and disease. Many species of wildlife have nearly disappeared because of the absence of food as the trees that currently exist on the river have little or no food value for wildlife. This project only plants trees that produce nuts and fruit so that ducks, songbirds, squirrels, wild turkeys, etc. have a viable food source. These strong hardwoods also create better habitat for wildlife and nesting birds.
In addition to the food benefits, the roots of trees act as filters when planted near waterways, helping reduce the amount of pollution and run-off entering our creeks, rivers and streams. The roots also help keep the ground in place and reduce erosion.
 Diversifying the current makeup of trees along our shorelines and in our communities increases the opportunities for beneficial wildlife and insects to live. It also helps protect against viruses, bores, etc. that could otherwise deplete an entire forest that’s made up of just one or two species. The trees also filter the air we breathe and produce oxygen, and by absorbing carbon they reduce the impacts of climate change.
When planted along shorelines and islands, these trees also produce shade over our waterways, keeping them cool for aquatic life and reducing the intensity of algae blooms and eutrophication of our waters. The trees also keep humans and wildlife safe and cool during hot and steamy Midwestern summers. And aside from all the health and wildlife benefits, trees are just plain beautiful and improve aesthetics everywhere they are planted!
And finally, perhaps the most important part of this project is the community involvement. Thousands of volunteers annually help with packaging and planting trees throughout the Midwest.

Ecological Benefits: Wildlife habitat, biodiversity, climate mitigation, climate adaptation

Community Benefits: These trees are distributed to schools and local communities throughout Illinois which directly impacts them by improving canopy cover and improving water quality.

Types of Trees: Red Oak, Bur Oak, Swamp White Oak, Redbud

Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 12,500

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