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CRTI School Tree Planting Grant

Request for Proposals
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) is requesting applications from schools wishing to plant trees on or around their property.
Science demonstrates that trees provide significant benefits to children. CRTI recognizes these benefits and would like to help schools provide these services.
Schools will commit to planting a minimum of 10 trees and will be required to demonstrate their capacity to care for the trees, including watering for at least the first three years.
CRTI staff will provide all necessary training and materials, and will work closely with the school to ensure that project leaders are equipped with sufficient resources to ensure that the trees thrive. This assistance includes working with a Certified Arborist to select native tree species that are appropriate for the site.
Application Deadlines:
Spring planting applications are due October 31 the year before the planting.
Fall planting applications are due August 1 the year of the planting.
For questions or concerns, contact Trinity Pierce at
Application Information
Project Mission
  • Scientists have shown that trees provide crucial benefits to people. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) recognizes these benefits and would like to help schools provide these benefits to students. Schools will apply to plant 10-20 trees on or around their property and commit to maintain these trees for a minimum of three years as they become established. 
Which Schools Should Apply?

Those schools meeting any of the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Wishing to plant 10 - 20 trees around school property
  • With the capacity to water trees once a week or more, including in the summer
  • Already having or wishing to establish an environmental/horticulture/green club for students
  • With strong community engagement to complete plantings & maintain the trees
A strong interest is more important than prior knowledge or expertise -- CRTI partners or staff will teach you what you need to know!
Recipient Commitments
Individual schools commit to providing time and material support for their plantings. These include:
  • Individual representing the school
  • Individual responsible for the maintenance and care of the trees, including communication with CRTI staff if tree stress is suspected
  • Individual designated as project leader
  • Pre-arranged commitment from community members & volunteers (Boy Scout troop, PTA/PTO, etc.). This project will take place this fall. 
  • Slow watering at a minimum of 15 gallons per tree per week.
  • Access to water
  • Necessary materials for watering trees (e.g. long hose or buckets)
CRTI's Contribution
CRTI is committed to helping schools improve and increase their canopy cover throughout the Chicago Region.  Resources available to schools include:
In the application phase CRTI will:
  • Conduct a visit to assist in identifying planting sites
  • Assist in selecting trees appropriate for the site
  • Assist in evaluating maintenance needs & capacity
In the pre-planting phase CRTI will: 
  • Conduct training in planting and tree care procedures for project leaders, teachers, and adult volunteers
  • Assist in delineating planting activities appropriate for each age group
  • Assist in identifying educational resources to coordinate with planting
In the planting phase CRTI will: 
  • Provide trees for planting (minimum 10 and maximum 20 per school)
  • Provide all tools and materials for the planting day, including mulch
  • Assist in managing volunteers on planting day
In the post-planting phase CRTI will:
  • Follow-up training and seasonal site visits for 3 years
  • Provide opportunities for continued education and outreach for students.