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CRTI Community Tree Network

The Community Tree Network is a peer to peer mentoring program to share expertise and provide mentorship to other urban foresters, tree commissions, forestry advocates, public works administration, and budget managers.

The goal of the Network is to connect neighboring communities and pool their knowledge to

1) understand the challenges and be able to advocate for best practices to their municipality and council members to address their forestry concerns and/or increase their forestry budgets,

2) implement or tweak their operations to conform to the best practices for the benefit of their trees,

3) create a regional community of tree experts to meet the growing complexity and scale of ecological challenges that cut across our municipal barriers.




In 2018, CRTI will be offering a series of Community Tree Network workshops that approach the tree planting process holistically. Come to one or all! We will be posting two minute recaps of each meeting down below.


October TBD - Part 3: CRTI Service Event. The Tree Stewardship and Planting Work Group will plan a service event to support the urban forest. Check back here for updates.

December 13- Part 4: Landscape Approach to Trees with Gerry Wilhelm. Plants don’t live alone, but we often plop trees into a heavy clay hole and hope they survive. Come learn from Gerry Wilhelm, co-author of Plants of the Chicago Region and the more recent Flora of the Chicago Region, how planting companions around new trees will lead to healthier trees, more beautiful and functional neighborhoods, and The Morton arboretum, Founders Room, 1-4 p.m. Registration open in fall 2018.

July 17- Community Tree Network: Behind the Scenes at 3 Local Tree Nurseries
Join your forestry colleagues to learn about different approaches and practices at tree nurseries. Ask those questions you always wanted to ask and be part of the conversation about how tree nurseries can better serve urban foresters. Meet at The Morton Arboretum Visitor’s Center parking lot (4100 IL Route 53, Lisle) at 8:00 a.m. to board the bus. We'll be visiting three nurseries to learn about their unique production practices and tour their fields. During the tour, we will visit Wasco Nursery in St. Charles, Doty Nursery in Maple Park, and Hinsdale Nursery in Willow Brook. Lunch will be provided. 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration is $5 (collected at the door) and space is limited.
March 7- Part 1: Achieving Species Diversity. This workshop for forestry and nursery professionals will highlight the importance of species diversity in the region and in your community. Learn about resources to find the trees that will help you reach your diversity goals. Learn how to choose the right species for your site, what resources that can help you find those species, and what other foresters in the region are planting. March 7, 2018, 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Fiore Nursery and Landscape Supply (801 N Bolingbrook Dr, Bolingbrook, IL 60440). Price: Free, lunch included. See agenda here. Workshop full- Join waitlist here.

Summer 2017Fruit and Nut Roll (8/5/2017, Douglas Park). Join us and Slow Roll Chicago we bike to some great examples of fruit and nut trees in an urban setting. This special session of the Community Tree Network brought 75 Chicago Region residents out to learn about the joys and challenges of growing food on trees in the middle of a city. See pictures here.


Spring 2017: (4/3/2017, The Morton Arboretum). Topic: Drones in Arboriculture. The Community Tree Network is a peer to peer mentoring program to share expertise and provide mentorship to other urban foresters, tree commissions, forestry advocates, public works administration, and budget managers. Come to The Morton Arboretum to learn how drones can be used to enhance your forestry program. The workshop will include a variety of presentations, including the logistics and opportunities for using drones in professional arboriculture, a viewing of drone footage of the tree damage in Ottawa, IL after the recent tornado, and a live demonstration on how to use a drone. Participants: 29 guests from Chicago Region municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, tree advocates, and agencies. See pictures here.


Winter 2017 (1/18/2017, Possibility Place Nursery). Topic: Fireside Forestry: Nursery TourJoin us for a chance to tour Possibility Place Nursery, learn about their onsite mill, discuss winter pruning, get tips on nursery tree selection, and learn more about their grow bag system. We’ll end the tour with a casual lunch around a bonfire. This event is open to all professional arborists and foresters in the region. See agenda hereSee Pictures from the event here. Participants: 47 guests from Chicago Region municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, tree advocates, and agencies.


Fall 2016. (10/25/2016, McMahon Woods in Palos Hills). Topic: Tree Planting for Experts. Speakers: Joe McCarthy (Chicago Bureau of Forestry), Jerome Scott (Chicago Park District), Tristan and Kelsay Shaw (Possibility Place Nursery), and Michael Dugan (Openlands). Participants: 17 municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, and agencies.


Summer 2016 (7/27/2016, Schaumburg). Topic: Winter Tree Protection: Safe Road De-Icing Solutions. Agenda here. Speakers: Mark DeVries (Vaisala), Wilfred Nixon (Salt Institute), Schaumburg Brew Crew, Meghan Midgley (The Morton Arboretum). Participants: 30 municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, and agencies.


Spring 2016 (3/22/2016, Triton College in River Grove). Topic: The 100-Year Infrastructure Overhaul: How to Protect Your Trees During Construction. Agenda here Participants: 32 municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, and agencies. Agenda here
Winter 2016 (1/19/2016, East Hazel Crest) Topic: Grant Writing. This special session will be held in partnership with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Associations. Participants: 56 municipalities, park districts, forest preserves, and agencies.
Fall 2015 (11/10/2015, Riverside Village Hall) Topic: Avoid Contracting Headaches by writing a better RFP, Speakers: Anne Marie McIntyre, Lydia Scott, Kelly Bolger, Joe McCarthy, Peter Gordon, Brian Borkowicz. Participants: 20  municipalities, park districts, and agencies.


Summer 2015 (8/14/2015, Algonquin Historic Village Hall) Topic: Community approaches to planting trees on public and private lands, Speakers: Annamaria Leon, Robyn Flakne, Daniella Pereira, Mike Collins. Participants: 15 municipalities, park districts, and agencies.


Spring 2015 (5/7/2015, Arlington Heights Public Works): Topic: Costs of not maintaining public trees. Speakers: Steve Ludwig, Dru Sabatello. Participants: 32 municipalities, park districts, and agencies.


Winter 2015: (1/26/2015, Lombard Public Works): Topic: Pruning small trees. Speaker: Eric Hendrickson. Participants: 29 municipalities, park districts, and agencies.


We would love to have more communities, park districts, and forest preserves participating in the Network. Please contact to get involved.