Clean up with free oak trees
• Calling homeowners, businesses, farms, landowners on the Rock River. Calling Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, nature lovers and tree huggers! Mark April 28 on your calendar!
By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher
Calling all who live or work within sight of the Rock River in Winnebago County! Want FREE OAK TREES? The day after Arbor Day, April 28, in partnership with Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful’s (KNIB) Great American Cleanup, the Rock River Trail Initiative (RRTI) is giving away $27,000 worth of oak trees in Winnebago County. Each tree is worth $30 retail. The public sector will receive 450 trees, and the private sector will receive 450 trees.
For the second year in a row, Chad Pregracke, president of Living Lands and Waters’ One Million Trees program, has donated 10,000 trees to the Rock River Trail Initiative. We are also proud to have him as an honorary RRTI council member. Thanks, Chad and Ashley Stover! Visit www.livinglandsandwaters.org/milliontrees/default.htm.
The waterside trees will be bur oak and swamp oak, and the upland trees are white oak and red oak. Each sapling is 2 to 4 feet long, rooted. Planting instructions will be included. What a project for an eagle scout or high school biology class! Whom do you know who has a home or property on the Rock River?
The oaks will be distributed at the following KNIB Great American Cleanup sites Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to noon: Rockton Village Green Park, 149 E. Chapel St.; Roscoe Public Works Building, 5402 Swanson Road; South Beloit Fire Station, 149 Gardner St.; and New Milford Village Hall, 6771 11th St. Thanks, Lori Gummow. Visit www.knib.org.
The Rockford Park District will distribute the free oaks Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Trolley Station, 324 N. Madison St., adjacent to the Riverview Ice House parking lot. Volunteers to help sort the oaks into five groups on Friday, Arbor Day, April 27 from 3 to 5 p.m., may call The Rock River Times, 815-964-9767. Thanks, Nate Hill, Ron Butler and Tim Dimke! Visit www.rockfordparks.org.
Kevin Farris of J. Carlson Growers states the average retail value of each of these oak trees is $30, so that’s a total of $27,300 worth of free trees for each of the 11 counties on the Rock River, or $300,300 worth of new oak trees to help our watershed, climate, air quality, water conservation and animal habitats.
The main goal of the Rock River Trail Initiative (RRTI), whose parent organization is the 501 (c)(3) Friends of the Rock, is to found a national recreational trail along the 300 miles of the Rock River, from its source above the Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin to its mouth at the Quad Cities in Illinois. Eco-tourism and the resulting economic development and jobs will reinforce the goals of protecting and improving the water quality and general environment along the Rock River. Please help us plant these trees.
Yes, the Rock River Trail is being built, and many will be surprised how much of it already exists! Please visit www.rockrivertrail.com for progress updates. The web site also lists the new 18 council members of the Rock River Trail Initiative. Look for the council person from your county or area. The website is a work in progress, so please explore it and give us your feedback.
For our second year planting what will be a total of 22,000 oaks on the Rock River, the Rock River Trail Initiative proudly and thankfully partners with Living Lands and Waters, Rockford Park District, The Rock River Times and KNIB’s Great American Cleanup. Watch the next two issues of this paper for partnership updates, more on the Great American Cleanup (see the complete story on page A5) and WHAT TREES DO FOR YOU. Help us celebrate Arbor Day by planting 910 oaks in Winnebago County!
From the April 11-17, 2012, issue
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