Collaborating for a greener, healthier future

CRTI is a network of collaborators from the tree industry, schools, communities, government organizations, as well as individuals supporting a comprehensive plan to lead regional action through 2050.

Become a partner

Anyone working toward a healthier and more equitable urban forest in the Chicago region may be a CRTI partner.

You don’t have to be an arborist or a member of an organization to become a partner. If you care about trees, you can make a difference. Join us!

Content Media

Together, our partners make a difference.

The Chicago Region Trees Initiative and its partners developed a Master Plan to improve the health, diversity, and equitable distribution of the Chicago regional forest. Together, CRTI partners are following this Master Plan and have made a region-wide impact.

  • Spread Knowledge and Understanding

    The region’s tree population is becoming more broadly understood and valued.

  • Identify Opportunities

    Collaborative management, capacity building, and fundraising opportunities are identified and enacted.

  • Measure Improvements

    Measurable improvements toward the health and vigor of the region’s trees are identified and established.

  • Develop Support

    Public awareness and support is developed to maintain our urban forest and enhance its health for the future.

Lead Partners

Thirteen key organizations serve as the lead partners of CRTI. They were chosen for their exemplary track records and existing programs that support the regional forest and their tree-focused expertise, work, and missions. The CRTI collaborative enables these, and all participating partners, to amplify their effects on the region by sharing resources and expertise.

The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized tree-focused botanical garden and research center with a mission to plant and protect trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Its 1,700-acre site includes 222,000 tree and plant specimens, representing 4,650 taxa from 40 countries. Its flagship programs in science and conservation include the Center for Tree Science and Global Tree Conservation Program. In addition to founding CRTI, the Arboretum developed and leads ArbNet, an international community of arboreta and tree-focused professionals.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides guidance, services, and strategies that make Chicago a healthier and safer city. CDPH programs include Healthy Communities, Healthy Living, and many others. Additionally, the CDPH has developed a Tree Equity Tool to help prioritize Chicago neighborhoods for action to improve the health benefits of trees.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is the region’s official comprehensive planning organization. Its ON TO 2050 plan will help the seven counties and 284 communities of northeastern Illinois to implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues.

The mission of the Chicago Park District is to enhance the quality of life in Chicago by becoming the leading provider of recreation and leisure opportunities, provide safe, inviting, and beautifully maintained parks and facilities, and create a customer-focused and responsive park system that prioritizes the needs of children and families.

Forest Preserves of Cook County, with more than 69,000 acres, is the largest forest preserve district in the United States. It receives an estimated 40 million visits each year, providing an escape into a world teeming with wildlife and rich with outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities.

The Illinois Arborist Association is a nonprofit organization that educates members in proper tree care and supports research on trees. Its mission is to “Foster interest, establish standards, exchange professional ideas and pursue scientific research in Arboriculture.”

The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association's mission is to enhance the professionalism and capabilities of members by providing leadership, education, and valued services while promoting environmental awareness within the landscape industry.

The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus provides a forum for metropolitan Chicago’s chief elected officials to collaborate on common problems and work toward a common goal of improving the quality of life for the millions of people who call the region home.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District protects the health and safety of the public in its service area, protects the quality of the water supply source (Lake Michigan), improves the quality of water in watercourses in its service area, protects businesses and homes from flood damage, and manages water as a vital resource for its service area. The District serves an area of 883 square miles that includes the City of Chicago and 125 suburban communities.

The Nature Conservancy began when leading scientists, committed citizens and dedicated leaders came together with a shared vision to protect and care for nature. Today, as they take on the most complex environmental challenges of our lives, our diverse staff, partners, and members impact conservation across more than 70 countries and territories.

Openlands works across the Chicago metropolitan region to advance nature-based solutions to improve the health and well-being of communities and create a more verdant region for all. The goals of Openlands are to combat climate change, protect land and nature, grow the tree canopy, educate schools and communities, and advocate for policy solutions. Openlands was a lead partner in developing and launching CRTI with The Morton Arboretum.

TREE Fund works to sustain the world’s urban forests by providing funding for scientific research, education programs, and scholarships related to arboriculture and urban forestry. TREE Fund grants contribute to improvements in arboriculture and urban forestry and support educational programs.

The Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, is a multifaceted federal agency that protects and manages 154 national forests and provides technical and financial help to state and local government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and landowners to help protect and manage nonfederal forest and associated range and watershed lands.

Our Partner Opportunities

Become a partner