This is the 35th in our 50 Days of Chicago Nature. Read previous posts here.
While official TreeKeeper events have paused due to Covid-19, trained volunteers like Anne Alt are keeping tabs on the trees in their neighborhoods.
"The need doesn't go away," says Anne, a TreeKeeper for seven years. "We need to take care of the trees we've got."
Anne, a Beverly resident, takes regular walks in her local park to check for bark damage and signs of disease. Recently when she saw that some trees in a business district "needed a little bit of TLC" she contacted the neighborhood association to see if she could help. She went out with her tools to do a bit of pruning.
Since 1991, nearly 2,000 TreeKeepers have provided eyes and ears on trees year-round across the Chicago region. Openlands founded the program to identify potential tree-related problems and lead neighbors in tree planting and tree care.
Anne's been involved in the planting of as many as 300 trees on the Major Taylor Trail between 87th and 127th streets. She finds peace as she's focused on the arboreal world--all the more important now--away from her job at a small law firm.
"It's nature and dirt therapy," she says. "I'm grateful to have green space to relax in and relieve the stress of the pandemic."