OAKtober Campaign Aims to Raise Awareness, Spur Action

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(Mabel Amber / Pixabay)

Oak was once the predominant tree in the Chicago area. Now most of them are gone. Ecologists have a plan to make sure they don’t disappear from the region entirely, and they need our help.

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What triggers the internal prompt that tells a tree "Oh hey, winter's coming"? It's a mystery to researchers. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

There’s still a lot that scientists don’t understand about what makes trees tick, especially when it comes to fall color. A team at the Morton Arboretum is working to unlock those secrets.

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The state champ bald cypress on the Illinois Big Tree Register. (University of Illinois Extension-Forestry / Facebook)

Of Illinois’ 183 native tree species, nearly 140 are represented on the Illinois Big Tree Register as a state “champ,” leaving 46 species still in need of a big discovery. Here’s how to nominate a tree for inclusion on the list.

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(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Less than an inch of rain was recorded at O’Hare in the month of August, pushing Chicago toward drought. That’s likely putting stress on trees, so give them a soak.

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Nearly 12,000 trees were lost during the powerful Aug. 10 derecho storm. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Damage to Chicago’s trees during the powerful Aug. 10 derecho was even more extensive than previously thought.

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Trees crashed onto cars and into streets during storms on Aug. 10, 2020. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

City crews are still clearing debris from last week’s powerful derecho. Thousands of trees were lost, which has renewed the call by some for an Urban Forestry Advisory Board to manage Chicago’s green infrastructure. 

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TreeKeepers are active in their communities, organizing tree plantings, adopting trees and maintaining parks. (Openlands / Facebook)

The conservation group Openlands started the program in 1991 and has since certified 2,000 TreeKeepers, who play an important role in conserving, protecting and advocating for the Chicago region’s trees. 

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A proposed Urban Forestry Advisory Board would take a more strategic look at one of the city’s unsung resources — its trees. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

It’s time to be strategic, rather than reactive, when it comes to managing a vital piece of Chicago’s infrastructure — it’s trees. 

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"Green Lady" in Jackson Park is the latest sculpture to breathe new life into one of Chicago's dead ash trees. (Chicago Sculpture International)

Since 2014, the Chicago Tree Project has commissioned more than two dozen sculptures across the city, bringing new life to dead ash trees. The latest is a work by artist Gary Keenan.

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A census of the Chicago region's trees, last tallied at 157 million in 2010, is in progress. (Brian Crawford / Flickr)

The 2020 census of the region’s trees — the largest undertaking of its kind in the country — will build on the inaugural 2010 count and help municipalities set priorities for creating healthier green infrastructure, particularly in underserved communities.

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The spotted lanternfly threatens grape, apple, pear, cherry and hop plants and trees, among others. (Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr)

The spotted lanternfly, oak wilt, gypsy moth and boxwood blight are among the latest threats in the plant world. And citizen scientists have a role to play when it comes to stopping the next plague.

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Neighbors in Ravenswood Manor are raising funds to save the area’s parkway ash trees. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The city has given up on its ash trees, but some Chicagoans refuse to let theirs die.

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Maple syrup is bottled piping hot in the Funks Grove fishing room. The Funks say the hot liquid sanitizes the container. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

For generations, a small family business has relied on predictable weather patterns to produce thousands of gallons of maple syrup each year. But climate change is now threatening the industry – and filling the family with uncertainty about the future.

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The east bank of the North Shore Channel has been stripped of foliage in Legion Park as part of a habitat restoration project. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The east bank of the North Shore Channel has been stripped of foliage between Foster and Bryn Mawr avenues, to be replaced with native species. Neighbors say the project has laid bare “eyesores” on the opposite bank.

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Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan (Daniel Peckham / Flickr)

From the Amazon to Jiuzhaigou Valley, the world’s forests are racking up hashtags. But there’s no need to travel out of Cook County in search of photogenic flora.

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In this Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, photo, a North Carolina Fraser fir Christmas tree is for sale in Lenoir, N.C. A Christmas tree shortage is being blamed on the Great Recession. Poor sales a decade ago, limited the number of trees planted, which are being harvested this year. (AP Photo / Sarah Blake Morgan)

Christmas tree supplies are tight again this year across the U.S., depending upon location and seller. The industry is still bouncing back from the Great Recession and trying to win people back from a shift toward artificial trees when times were especially tough.

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