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The path of least resistance lures us with the promise of an easy ride. But where does it take us?

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Illinois 2022- Million Trees Project

Planting Location: Throughout IL

Project Description/Objective: The approach we used is to help get trees into the hands of those who are looking to help plant and reforest. We grow oak trees from acorns at our nursery in Davenport, IA and purchase the remainder needed from nearby tree nurseries. Once we bring the bare root trees to our shop, we work with volunteers and students to ensure the roots won't dry out before planting. Wrapping them in newspaper, getting them wet, then bagging and tying them up helps us keep them alive and well. These trees then get delivered to those who are looking to plant and reforest as long as they live within the native range of the species.

Ecological Benefits: As we were focusing on our main mission, cleaning up America’s waterways we not only noticing the large amount of trash along the shorelines, but also the lack of wildlife. Kicking off our MillionTrees Project(MTP) in 2007 we aimed to plant and distribute 1,000,000 trees back along our rivers and within their watersheds. Our focus has mainly been oaks because the large amounts of benefits they bring including a food source for more than 100 species of vertebrate animals. The trees that end up being planted along our waterways also do a great job keeping the soil in place and helping to reduce erosion. Along our trails we also come across a large amount of invasive species growing in wooded areas. These invasives, including invasive honeysuckle, are quickly growing in numbers and outcompeting the new growth of many of our native trees. We look to help get more native trees in the ground to also help continue the the fight against invasives. The trees that get planted through the MTP also help to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Working with more individuals to put more trees in the ground of areas with need, together we can improve water and air quality while creating awareness of the value of planting native hardwoods.

Community Benefits:One of the amazing attributes of this project is the amount of communities we are able to reach and impact during a short amount of time. Many of times the trees that we pass along are delivered to park districts, schools, cities, and stewards of local communities that then in return hold a ‘Free Tree Event’ on or around Earth Day. Giving those people the opportunity to empower their local community to take part and pride in where they live by planting a tree is breathtaking. We believe that the rippling effect that continues on after the initial planting goes further than we’ll ever know. Within this whole process we make sure that literature is handed out informing people of the important role they are playing in planting a tree sapling. Education is the key to it all! In the beginning stages of this program we work with local schools to educate middle and high school kids the importance trees have while working together to give each tree the best chance for survival. The whole process really shows how when many people come together with a common goal what we can accomplish is amazing!

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

Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 10,000

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