Herald-Whig View

Tree planting group gives nature a hand with Quincy's 'urban forest'

Posted: Nov. 14, 2017 9:55 am

QUINCY'S tree-lined streets have been a sight to behold in recent weeks as vibrant fall foliage has been on display.

Part of the credit for the beautiful canopy belongs to Quincy Trees for Tomorrow. The group has planted 1,037 trees along streets and in parks during the first 10 years of its existence, and we commend this organization's efforts, which will add beauty to the city for generations to come.

Founding volunteers, such as Barb Cantrell and Anne St. John, tell how the group's initial priority was to replace trees that had been lost along Maine Street between 12th and 24th streets. Wind, ice, droughts and diseases had thinned the canopy along that iconic corridor over several decades.

The group's efforts were so successful that after Maine Street plantings were completed, the effort branched out along other streets in the East End Historic District and along State Street.

Replacement trees became an even bigger priority after a devastating windstorm on July 13, 2015, destroyed thousands of the city's oldest and largest trees.

Madison Park was hit especially hard, and Quincy Trees for Tomorrow stepped in to replace much of what was lost. In addition, about 60 trees also were planted on the grounds of the Illinois Veterans Home after the storm.

This vital nonprofit organization has raised $263,000 to keep the tree program going for a decade by selling trees and engraved memorial markers. It also has worked with schools to teach children the importance of planting and nurturing the "urban forests."

Quincy Trees for Tomorrow, working in tandem with the Quincy Tree Commission, also has agreed to plant shorter varieties of trees in areas where taller growth would interfere with overhead power lines and require trimming.

All these accomplishments have been recognized far beyond the city limits. In 2009, Quincy was named the No. 1 Tree City USA growth community in the nation based on a point system. Quincy Trees for Tomorrow played a major role in achieving that honor.

The city may need Quincy Trees for Tomorrow now more than ever. The city has been eliminating many of the older, larger ash trees to get ahead of the invasion of emerald ash borers. Hundreds of trees will be needed to replace what is being lost.

Quincy has been involved in Tree City USA efforts since the 1980s, but the wealth of trees dates to the city's founding more than 175 years ago.

Quincy Trees for Tomorrow is helping to preserve that legacy, and we thank those who are planting for the future.