How can I celebrate Arbor Day?
Arbor Day 2021 is Friday, April 30. Looking for ways to celebrate trees in Champaign County? Look no further. Below is your guide to fun ways to honor our trees.
- Go hug a tree. Take a tree walk, hug a tree, and share a picture on social media with the hashtags #CCDCF #ArborDay2021. Some suggested tree walks:
- Receive a tree gift. The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is giving away trees on April 24 from 9am-noon at Lake of the Woods (Rte. 47 Entrance) and Homer Lake Forest Preserves. Trees are free but reservations are required. Originally this was offered as a thank you to donors and now they have expanded it to the public. Reserve yours by visiting their website or calling 217-586-3360.
- Visit the Red Oak Rain Garden. CCDCF is a supporter of the Red Oak Rain Garden, which is a 10,000 sq. ft. landscape feature that mitigates flooding and benefits pollinators. It is host to two 100 year-old trees — the RORG sisters. While not always part of rain gardens, trees are valuable component of nature-based solutions that give us a healthier urban hydrologic cycle. Their leaves intercept incoming rain, while their roots soak up excess rain.
- Go on a Historic Tree Hunt. The Urbana Park District and the City of Urbana are announcing a Historic Tree Hunt taking place from Thursday, April 22 through Arbor Day on Friday, April 30, 2021. You can visit 15 historic and impressive trees near downtown Urbana. Each tree will have a Tree Tag attached to highlight the species of the tree, its story, and the ecological and economic benefits that tree provides.
- Visit a Champaign County Tree City or Tree Campus. Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Savoy are registered as Tree City USA communities, and the University of Illinois is an official Tree Campus! Meeting standards includes employing sound urban forestry management, dedicating funds to urban forestry, and celebrating Arbor Day.
- Take a ride on the Kickapoo Rail Trail. CCDCF secured the former rail line that has now been converted to a recreational trail. Plan your trip!
- Attend the online Arbor Day Celebration at UIUC. Sign up for the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) newsletter to get the link for a Zoom meeting at noon on Arbor Day with the Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee. This year, the University’s Arbor Day Celebration will highlight a new Tree Champion on campus and a tree being planted on behalf of the Illinois Climate Action Plan 2020.
- Learn about trees near you. Explore the benefits of local trees through the online inventories: Campus Tree Inventory, City of Urbana Tree Inventory, and City of Champaign Tree Inventory.
- Teach children about trees. The Arbor Day Foundation hosts an online tool/toy box for children to learn about trees with worksheets and games. Visit Carly’s Kids Corner to access the files.
- Plant a tree. Trees improve property value, reduce energy consumption, provide shade to reduce temperature, absorb stormwater, produce oxygen and create habitat. Planting a tree today is an act of hope for a better future. Visit the National Wildlife Foundation website to find a native tree that is the best fit for your property. Urbana’s Under the Canopy guide will give you pointers on the best way places to plant trees.
Arbor Day History
Arbor Day was founded by J. Sterling Morton on April 10, 1872. Morton was a civic leader who developed the idea to dedicate a day for tree planting, to improve the environment and quality of life. in his community. Arbor Day celebrations spread quickly and are now celebrated in all 50 states and across the globe. Unlike a holiday to celebrate a past moment, Arbor Day celebrates a commitment to making the future better.
Like Arbor Day, CCDCF was founded by civic leaders who gathered to assess and improve the future natural and built environment. In 1900, there were more than 50,000 acres of woodland in Champaign County, today fewer than 7,000 acres remain. Since 1964, CCDCF has secured funding to purchase lands for open space, established the 24.5 mile Kickapoo Rail Trail, provided funding for thousands of trees and highlighted design excellence in the built environment.