GENEVA – For the past five years, Geneva’s Natural Resources Committee has held fundraisers to back its calling – to support the natural environment.
Committee chairman Jay Womack said the committee was able to collect $10,000 to buy and plant 30 trees primarily along Third Street to replace those removed because of the emerald ash borer, contributing “toward the Greening Geneva initiative,” a reforestation program for city parkways.
The city removed 2,400 of its 2,700 parkway ash trees because of infestation by the borer, officials said.
“They will be planted any week now by George Kay and Associates,” Womack said. “We are looking at as varied a canopy as possible.”
Mayor Kevin Burns praised the committee’s work, thanking its members for their generosity, commitment and stewardship of Geneva’s natural environment.
“The NRC’s contribution is a shining example of a transformational gift that will benefit our community for generations,” Burns said.
The species of trees to be planted include gingko, skyline honey locust, a cross between an American and Chinese elm – resistant to Dutch elm disease – native ironwood and ivory silk Japanese tree lilac, he said.
The skyline honey locust is a cultivar or hybrid of the native honey locust – hardy for urban areas, but without the thorns of the native tree, Womack said.
“It typically grows in flood plains and river bottoms and makes for a very hardy street tree,” Womack said. “A lot of urban environments mimic the habitat of the flood plain – heavy clay or very dry or very wet.”
Ironwood grows slowly and the tree lilac is small, making them easier to grow in urban settings with overhead wires, he said.
Womack said he hoped more residents would participate in the city’s 50-50 program for parkway tree plantings.
“Trees in the parkway are so important for our city,” Womack said. “They ameliorate urban heat islands – the effects of radiation of heat bouncing back up off roads and surfaces – they filter air by collecting airborne particles. They provide shade and a general level of beauty of fall color and canopy that people love and wildlife habitat.”
Under the 50-50 program, the resident pays $150 and the city pays the rest of the cost to purchase and plant a new tree.
Information is available online at www.geneva.il.us.