Arbor Day Celebrations Aplenty Around Chicago Area

What is April 30, 2010? Ask home owners and most will tell you that it’s the day the Federal Home Buyers Tax Credit expires. But that’s not all: It’s also Arbor Day.

This is a picture of the Illinois state tree.

1. What is Arbor Day?
2. When is Arbor Day?
3. Who founded Arbor Day?
4. What is the founder’s Illinois connection?
5. What is name of the Illinois state tree?
That last question should have tipped you off to the answer of the first question. Arbor Day is a nationally recognized holiday that celebrates the importance of trees and encourages tree planting and care.
Trees aren’t just beautiful, they are essential. Trees clean our air, water and soil, reduce our home heating and cooling costs, and increase our property values.
Quiz Question 2: Each state chooses its own date for Arbor Day according to its best tree-planting times: In many states, as in Illinois, that day is the last Friday in April. This year happens to be the last day in April as well.
Quiz Question 3: Julius Sterling Morton, who served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland, founded Arbor Day in 1872. On that first observance, more than one million trees were planted; Arbor Day became an annual legal holiday in 1885.
Quiz Question 4: Can you connect Morton’s name with anything nature-oriented in Illinois?It was Morton’s son, Joy Morton, who founded the Morton Arboretum in Lisle in 1922.
There are many events celebrating Arbor Day around the Chicago area this weekend. Here are some of the highlights, starting with the Morton Arboretum:
Where: Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
What: Arbor Day Weekend ~ Too many activities to list, including tree planting, plant sales, children’s activities, free-pass-for-future-visit giveaway and more.
When: April 30 to May 2; times vary
Contact: or (630) 968-0074
Where: Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, 7402 W. Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights
What: Arbor Day Celebration ~  A free festival featuring animals, games, hayrides, face painting, puppet shows, food and more. Tree seedlings and planting guides will be given to the first 200 families, and Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension will be on hand to answer questions about tree planting and gardening.
When: Saturday, May 1; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Contact: or (708) 361-1873
Where: Recreation Center, 4500 Belmont Rd., Downers Grove
What: Arbor Day 2010 ~ Tree planting demonstration and free seedlings giveaway; experts from the Morton Arboretum will be on site to answer questions.
When: Friday, April 30; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Contact: or (630) 960-7250
Where: Northside College Prep, Joy Garden, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago
What: Tree Spree ~ Help plant a in a garden, listen to live music by the Bon Mots, get a sneak peek at a new solar panel project and more at this free event.
When: Saturday, May 1; 12 to 4 p.m.
Contact: or (773) 545-8136
Where: Lincoln Park, a few blocks west of Route 31 on Main Street, St. Charles
What: Arbor Day in St. Charles ~ Free event with live music, refreshments and a tree dedication; all guests will receive a perennial plant.

When: Friday, April 30; 4 p.m.
Contact: or (630) 584-1885
Where: Whole Foods, 7245 Lake St., River Forest
What: Arbor Day Story Time ~ Get your shopping down after you drop off your kids in the café, where they will hear a tree story, eat earth-friendly snacks and receive a tree sapling to plant at home. Advance registration is required at the customer service desk.
When: Friday, April 30; 4 to 5 p.m.
Contact: or (708) 366-1045
Where: Arbor Day Park, corner of Downing Drive and Sumac Trail, Hoffman Estates
What: Arbor Day Celebration and Tree-Planting Ceremony
When: Friday, April 30; 10 to 11 a.m.
Contact: or (847) 882-9100
Where: Centennial Park, 1209 Burr Oak Drive, Arlington Heights
What: Arbor Day Celebration ~ Refreshments will be served and a tree will be planted.
When: Friday, April 30; 9:30 refreshments, 10 a.m. program
Contact: or (847) 577-3000
Where: Public Works Service Center, 180 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville
What: Arbor Day Tree Sale ~ This is for Naperville residents only and there’s a limit of four trees per household. Morton Arboretum experts will be there to answer tree questions and pass out literature.
When: Saturday, May 1; 8 a.m. to noon
Contact: or (630) 420-6095
Where: Round Lake Police and Public Works Facility, corner of Townline and Bacon Rd., Round Lake
What: Arbor Day Celebration ~ Offering refreshments, activities for kids and free trees to the first 100 residents.
When: Saturday, May 1; 10 a.m. to noon
Contact: or (847) 546-5400
Where: Garfield Park, at Church and Sheffer Rds., Aurora
What: Arbor Day Giveaway ~ 600 oak tree seedlings will be given away; there is a limit of one per person and two per family.
When: Friday, April 30; 1 p.m.
Contact: or (630) 264-4636
The best way to celebrate Arbor Day is to plant a tree. Some communities, like Skokie, offer a 50/50 Parkway Tree Planting Program, in which the village will cover 50 percent of the cost of the tree. Skokie is also hosting its own tree-planting ceremony on Friday, April 30, at 10 a.m. at McNally Park.
And, if you want to celebrate Arbor Day without leaving your trees at home, get online and join the Arbor Day Foundation. Everyone who joins the nonprofit group during the month of April will receive 10 free shade trees guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced.
Final question on our quiz: The Illinois state tree is the White Oak.
So? How did you do? If you didn’t know all the answers at the beginning of this story, you do now. Go celebrate: Hug a tree!