Openlands Celebrates 50th TreeKeepers Graduating Class

July 26, 2016

June 26 marked the graduation of 19 new TreeKeepers, including our youngest ever TreeKeeper, Isabella, who is 10 years old. The course has been offered twice a year for 25 years, making this the 50th class of graduates! TreeKeepers become certified to care for trees in an urban environment so that they can volunteer in a variety of situations from tree care and planting to adopting green spaces and advocacy. Their learned skills empower them to recognize when trees are not properly maintained and fix a problem when they see it.

Caring for our urban forest is a shared effort, and the TreeKeepers in training got a taste of this when they concluded their course with a tree planting on Major Taylor Trail, adding to the 200 trees other Opeenlands TreeKeepers have already planted with the help of Friends of Major Taylor Trail.

Along with their technical training, TreeKeepers get to join a network of over 1,800 stewards and are motivated to become more interactive members of their communities. TreeKeepers work all over the Chicago region, connecting with different people over the shared goal of protecting and planting trees. Some recent graduates were recruited by another one of our TreeKeepers, Helen Denham, who is on the Riverdale Tree Commission and helps lead the Riverdale Tree Buddies, a mentorship and youth volunteer program to get children outside.

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