Klehm Arboretum Announces Community Trees Program

Thursday, October 6, 2011 by

Klehm Arboretum Announces Community Trees Program

New Community Trees Program –

A Strong Community Partnership Advocating for Our Trees


Who: Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

What: Press Conference for New Community Trees Program

Where: Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden – 2715 S Main Street in Rockford, IL

When: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 10am


Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden will announce its new Community Trees Program with a tree-planting event on Tuesday, October 18th at 10:00am. The press conference will be held outdoors. Transportation from the parking lot will be provided.

John Richards, President of the Board for Klehm says, “The program aims to share a vision of a sustainable community sheltered by a vibrant canopy of trees among many civic partners and residents of Rockford.”

The program kicks off with the addition of Edith Makra Kusnierz, the Community Trees Advocate to Klehm’s staff. Makra previously headed the Community Trees Program for The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL and launched former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s enduring city tree program in Chicago. She began her career at the top of the ladder – climbing trees as an arborist, but has spent the last two decades advocating for trees. Makra led the state’s planning for the invasive ash tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer, which poses a severe threat to Rockford’s community forest.

The four key civic partners lending support to the Community Trees Program will join in the kickoff event. These are:

  • The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District, which owns Klehm Arboretum
  • The Rockford Park District
  • Winnebago County
  • The City of Rockford

These agencies have each pledged collaboration and $10,000 annually for three years to support the Community Trees Program. In addition, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is partnering to build an endowment fund for the Community Trees Program.

Klehm and the partners have set a fund-raising goal of $500,000 to allow the program to make a lasting impact on the quality of life in the Rockford region. Donations should be sent to Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden 2715 S Main Street – Rockford, IL 61102.

According to Makra, “The key to the program’s success will be the enthusiastic participation of individuals, neighborhood organizations, youth groups, businesses and civic leaders.” She will organize events and volunteer opportunities around Arbor Day in the spring of 2012, to invite the residents to ‘dig in’ to support the planting, care and conservation of trees in the region.

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