Annual Partner Recognition Celebration

Join the Chicago Region Trees Initiative for a Partner Recognition Celebration!

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Connect with fellow partners and celebrate our efforts.

The CRTI Partner Recognition Celebration is an annual event to connect with partners across the region, get inspired by speakers to keep up our collective efforts in the coming year, and recognize the efforts of individuals and organizations with CRTI Urban Forestry Awards.

Share feedback about the February 2022 PRC and weigh in on future themes with this brief survey.

You can find and download photos from the most recent event here. Photo Credit: Elliot Powell.

Keynote: Dr. Vivek Shandas, Professor at Portland State University and Founder and Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR)

Vivek Shandas is a Professor of Climate Adaptation at Portland State University, and a Principal at CAPA Strategies, a global climate consulting firm. His teaching and research examine the pathways of exposure to climate-induced events and the role of planning policies in addressing social justice. As a climate consultant, he works at the intersection of collaborative climate action, high-resolution descriptions of landscapes, and improving environmental health. He has published over 100 articles, four books, and his research has been featured in the NYTimes, National Geographic, Scientific American, Le Monde, Times of India, and other national and international media. He serves as Chair of the City of Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission, technical reviewer for Federal and State agencies, and a board member on several non-profit organizations.  In his spare time, he revels in the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest, and pines for wood-fired pizza anywhere he can find it.

Keynote: Tanner Yess, Co-Executive Director at Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Tanner was raised by scientists, and grew up paddling, biking, and hiking. After earning a degree in ecology, he worked on a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea. His Peace Corps service involved resource management and eco-tourism. During graduate school, Tanner helped form Greater Cincinnati’s Tri-State Trails Coalition. He is a National Park Service Mountains to Main Street Ambassador; SHIFT Emerging Leader; and recipient of the 2018 Murie Center Rising Leader Award. As a co-founder of Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Tanner has led the creation of one of the nation’s largest youth green workforce programs and brought Climate Safe Neighborhoods to Cincinnati. Yess’ passion is creating new pathways for diverse youth to access green careers.

Panel on Urban Heat Island and Urban Trees


Raed Mansour, City of Chicago Department of Public Health

Dr. Christy Rollinson, Forest Ecology at The Morton Arboretum

Mayor Kevin Burns, Mayor of Geneva and Chairperson of MMC Environment Committee

Dr. Ashish Sharma, Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead at Argonne National Laboratory and Integrated Urban Climate Research Group

We asked partners to submit projects done in the seven county Chicago Region that contribute to at least one of CRTI’s four goals:

Inspire people to value trees
Increase the Chicago region’s tree canopy
Reduce threats to urban trees
Enhance oak ecosystems

Posters were created to show off their efforts and were posted at the February 9 CRTI Partner Recognition Celebration. See the posters below!