Park district to debut interpretive tree program at April 23 Earth Day event

Fischer Farm visitors can now learn about the trees through interactive website 

The Bensenville Park District is unveiling a new interpretive tree program at its Earth Day at the Farm event, presented by Grand Subaru of Bensenville, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 23, at Fischer Farm, 16W680 Grand Avenue. Visitors to the farm will now be able to learn about the trees simply by scanning a QR code on signs posted at the farm and accessing the information online.

Each tree has been catalogued and mapped through a Geographic Information System (GIS). Once on the website, patrons click on the tree icons to learn more about the species, leaf type, height, spread and more for each tree on the map. By clicking “more info” in the tree info box, users can learn additional information about the characteristics, care and uses for each tree from the Morton Arboretum website.

The Bensenville Park District currently manages more than 4,000 trees throughout its park system. For nearly a year, the district inventoried its trees and developed its Urban Forestry Management Plan, which details how these trees will be managed for the benefit of the park district and its residents and patrons through 2032. The Board of Commissioners passed the comprehensive plan at its regular meeting March 16, 2022.

The park district was awarded a $20,000 grant to complete tree inventories and develop a management plan for its urban forest in April 2021. Funds were provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Urban and Community Forestry Core Grant Program, and the grant was administered by The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI). The district contributed an additional $13,000 to cover the fees associated with the tree inventory and management plan conducted and created by Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management.

Earth Day at Fischer Farm volunteers will be helping staff tidy up the prairie, fix up the garden, tend to the animals and many other activities. Participants will receive a special Earth Day t-shirt for volunteering. Water and snacks also will be provided throughout the two-hour event, including an ice cream truck with free ice cream for participants, complements of Grand Subaru.

The dealership, located just a few blocks from the farm at 125 W. Grand Ave. in Bensenville, will be holding a free raffle on-site for participants to win environmentally-friendly prizes. Representatives also will be distributing valuable information about recycling and the new Grand Subaru community recycling drop-off center.

The event is free, but registration is necessary and can be done by phone (630-766-7015) or in person at the Deer Grove Leisure Center, 1000 W. Wood St., Bensenville. Volunteers also may be eligible for community service credit; check with the specific organization to see if this event qualifies. Further information may be found on the park district website.

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