In recent years, Park Ridge has lost hundreds of trees. The emerald ash borer, especially, had a devastating effect on the urban forest throughout the City and across Park Ridge Park District land. In response, the Park District developed a reforestation plan to lay out recommendations for future tree plantings.
The Park Ridge Friends of the Parks saw this as an opportunity to get the broader community involved in an initiative that touches everyone in some way. In recognition of the Park District’s 100 Year Anniversary in 2014, Friends of the Parks kicked off the 100 Trees for 100 Years program. Through 100 Trees for 100 Years, Friends of the Parks collected $10,000 in donations from community members and organizations to fund the replacement of 100 of the trees lost to the emerald ash borer.
On September 30, 2014, the Park Ridge Friends of the Parks, along with Park Ridge Board members and staff and donors to the 100 Trees program, planted the first tree at Centennial Park. A highlight of this event included Olivia Das Gupta reading her award-winning poem, The Loving Tree.
Mural painted by Andi Taglia
The need for planting trees in our community is ongoing. Therefore, in 2016 the Park Ridge Friends of the Parks kicked off the Trees Forever program to continue seeking donations for this cause. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules. Donations in honor of a friend or family can be recognized with an engraved leaf on the bronze memorial tree located in the lobby of the Maine Park Leisure Center at the following levels:
$500 - Gold Leaf
$250 - Silver Leaf
$100 - Copper Leaf
The Loving Tree
I sit underneath the old oak tree,
I hear a whispering voice speak to me.
I turn around to see the branches bend.
And I realize it's only the wind.
Then I feel something brush my arm.
It is a squirrel that means no harm.
I start to feel sad and alone.
I sigh and let out a soft moan.
But then I feel something tap me
And hear whispering...it is the tree!
He asks me what is wrong
I say nothing, so he plays me a song.
We sit for hours from day to night
And as he sings I feel alright.
by Olivia Das Gupta
Roosevelt Elementary School
2014 Park Ridge Friends of the Parks PoeTree Winner