Evanston woman promotes tree care
Evanston resident Wendy Pollock and others are hoping to bring Openlands TreeKeepers program to Evanston. | Photo courtesy of Wendy Pollock
If You Go
What: First meeting of Openlands TreeKeepers in Evanston
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 14
Where: Evanston Ecology Center, 2424 McCormick Blvd.
Who: Everyone is invited to attend
Updated: December 9, 2012 6:12AM
EVANSTON — Like a number of Chicago area residents, Wendy Pollock participated in the Openlands TreeKeepers program, a successful program that has many people caring for trees, particularly within the city limits of Chicago.
She is taking a lead role in bringing the Openlands TreeKeepers program to Evanston. The goal is to help mobilize and empower residents who want to do more to keep the urban forest healthy and growing. Citizen involvement with the care of trees in urban areas is especially important in a time of budget constraints, even more so now when trees are under increasing pressure from invasive pests and disease and severe weather.
Pollock, 62, a three-year resident of Evanston, spoke about the first-time program in a recent interview.
Q. What are some of the things you gained from t h e Openlands TreeKeepers?
A. TreeKeeper classes are a great opportunity to learn about basic tree biology, threats trees are facing, and what we can all do to help care for them. They’re also a way to meet and work with some very dedicated people. I highly recommend them. Trees are under a lot of pressure these days — from invasive pests like the emerald ash borer and diseases like Dutch elm — and they’re also under threat from extreme weather that’s becoming more common, like the drought we saw this summer. They need our help more than ever.
Q. Why is taking care of trees in our interest?
A. There are so many benefits from trees, especially in urban areas. They help clean and cool the air, they slow storm water runoff. They even have important psychological benefits. Research has shown that people feel safer when trees are around, and they’ll even travel farther and stay longer in business districts that have trees.
Q. Isn’t it the city’s responsibility to worry about trees?
A. The city is responsible for some 30,000 trees on parkways and other public lands. But the city can’t water every tree. There’s so much we can do as citizens to help keep public trees healthy — and to plant and take care of trees around our own homes, too.
Q. You have a media project coming out on trees, drawing from your experiences working with science museums?
A. It’s called “The Truth About Trees: A Natural and Human History.” It’s a three-part series, which we expect to air in spring of 2014. It’s really vast in scope. It looks at the tree as an organism, the long relationship between people and trees, and the role of trees in the biosphere.
Q. So how do you feel about the term “tree hugger”?
A. I think it’s great. I think we should all hug trees. Where would we be without them?