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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Become a TreeKeeper

Posted by Ron Wolford -

TreeKeepers are volunteers who have become certified by Openlands to give trees the care and maintenance they need to thrive in the urban forest. Classes are taught by professionals from the Morton Arboretum, Chicago's Bureau of Forestry, the Chicago Park District, Chicago's Department of Environment and private arboriculture experts. Discover some things that may surprise you: tree roots grow outward from the trunk near the surface, not down deep into the soil; one of the worst enemies of city trees is the lawn mower; trees can drown and suffocate. Receive hands-on training in pruning, planting and mulching. Learn what makes trees sick and what keeps them healthy. Acquire techniques to tell one species from another–even without their leaves!

This seven-week course for adults is offered twice a year–in spring and fall–at various locations throughout the City of Chicago. Class topics include: Benefits of Urban Trees, Tree Folktales and Myths, Tree Physiology, Learning to Know Trees by their Latin Names, Tree Species Identification, Common Tree Diseases and Insect Damage, Hands-On Pruning, Right Tree in the Right Place, Planting and Mulching. Students who attend all seven classes, pass a final exam and hands-on skills tests for pruning, mulching and planting become certified TreeKeepers. They then become part of an informed volunteer corps that convenes regular workdays to care for city trees in public parks, on city streets and at other public sites.

Tuition of $80 includes materials, guest speakers, and certification upon completion of course requirements. Two graduate credits are available for teachers. For more information and to find out when and where the next classes will be given, contact TreeKeeper Jim at (312) 863-6259 or click here for the brochure. See Events Calendar for a listing of TreeKeeper workdays.

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