Free Neighborhood Improvement Tree Grant. If you’ve always felt that an area of your neighborhood could use some trees this may be a great solution to improve your neighborhood for free, to spend time with your neighbors and be the neighborhood hero.
Openlands is one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation and the only such group with a regional scope in the greater Chicago region.
TreePlanters Project Grant
The TreePlanters Project Grant is open to Chicago residents who would like to facilitate a community tree planting day with their neighbors. By engaging neighbors, local businesses and organizations, the applicant will identify locations for 10-40 trees to be planted, as well as volunteers interested in planting them. Openlands will provide assistance throughout this process. Not all applications will be able to receive a grant. If you are serious I would get organized sooner rather than later. Learn more here.
Free Neighborhood Improvement Tree Grant – Application deadlines
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Plantings occur in the spring (April-May) and fall (September-early November) of each year. Apply here. The application process involves three steps. Once you have completed all three steps, you will be ready for planting day.
Where can you plant free trees
Planting locations must be in the city of Chicago or the near south suburbs and on public land. Public land is considered to be the parkways between the curb and the sidewalk in front of residential houses, school property, and some vacant lots. We will no longer accept proposals that are solely for planting in Chicago Parks.
Those receiving the grant will:
Recruit neighborhood volunteers. Openlands will provide additional resources to help with event promotion, and you should encourage all volunteers to register in advance of planting day using the unique event link.
Local volunteers will be best suited to provide tree care for the three years following the planting. On planting day, Openlands and trained TreeKeepers will assist volunteers with planting trees
Openlands unites the people and resources of the diverse Chicago metropolitan region around the goal of land and water protection, providing a healthy vibrant space to live and work.
Founded in 1963 as a program of the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Openlands is one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation and the only such group with a regional scope in the greater Chicago region. Openlands has helped protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens.
Utilizing a number of conservation tools—outreach and education, technical assistance and planning, land acquisition and preservation, and policy and advocacy—Openlands adopts and implements long-term solutions that balance the inevitable growth of our region with the responsibility to protect our open spaces and natural resources for generations to come.
Mission and Vision
Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives. Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.
Commitment to Diversity
Openlands maintains that achieving diversity requires an enduring commitment to inclusion that must find full expression in our organizational culture, values, norms and behaviors. Throughout our work, we will support diversity in all of its forms, encompassing but not limited to age, ability, economic circumstance, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation.