Park District of La Grange to Host Tree Walk on November 6th

October 29, 2021Brian Opyd0

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau

The Park District of La Grange is excited to announce our upcoming Tree Walk on Saturday, November 6th, 2021 at Denning Park, located at 4903 Willow Springs Rd. Join us at 9:30am for a guided walk through the park with Jim Semelka, as we discuss and learn about 10 pre-selected species of trees. We had a chance to sit down and speak with our Park Foreman, Claudia Galla regarding the upcoming Tree Walk and what participants can expect that day.

Claudia, the Park District recently received a grant that put the wheels in motion for the Tree Walk.
Can you tell us about that grant and its importance to the Park District?

We received the 2020-2022 Urban & Community Forestry Grant that is funded through the IL. Dept of Natural Resources and USDA Forest Service. Funding will be used to complete a tree inventory and develop a plan for the future preservation & management of the community’s urban forest. We will be using a GIS mapping system to track our tree inventory. These are important tools that will serve to create a Tree Protection/Preservation Ordinance for the Park District for the protection of this natural resource.

Denning Park

Tell us about the Tree Walk.

The Tree Walk serves as an outreach to the community. We want to bring awareness about the importance and beauty of trees. Trees provide oxygen, absorb CO2, buffer noise, improve pubic mental & physical health, provide wildlife habitat, reduces erosion, absorbs storm water, and increase property values. These are just some benefits from trees.

The Tree Walk is being led by Jim Semelka. What can you tell us about Jim?

Jim is a long-time resident of La Grange. He served as the Village Forester for 10 years and moved on to Oak Park as Forestry Superintendent. He now is a Municipal Forestry Consultant for Great Lakes Forestry Management where he works with several Chicago area communities.

You choose 10 species of trees out of 51 in Denning Park. Why did you choose the 10 species of trees
that you did for the Tree Walk?

I selected these 10 species because they are common in the community. They are trees that maybe you don’t notice but are interesting. We’ll learn some facts and what makes them different from each other.


What is one concept or idea participants should leave with after the event?

I would want them to understand that the park district is working to ensure the responsibility of care and diversity of the tree canopy, now and into the future. Trees are not just an aesthetic but also a critical infrastructure for the community. I hope we pique everyone’s interest to seek more information when people walk away from this event.

Participants in attendance will be entered into a raffle. Can you tell us about the raffle prizes and the
companies that donated?

We have a couple raffle prizes. Natural Communities provides native seed, plants and trees for ecological restoration areas in the Chicago area and Northern Illinois. They donated a Monarch Meadow Native Garden kit. It is a 20-plug sized plant kit that will be shipped in the spring in time for planting. This kit will attract butterflies and pollinators to an urban sized garden.

The Possibility Place Nursery has donated a $25 gift certificate. They are a well-known nursery that specialize in growing native Northern Illinois perennials, shrubs and trees since 1983.

In addition, The Morton Arboretum has generously donated passes to their facility.

For those interested is taking part in the Tree Walk on November 6th, we ask that you please use PDLG Tree Walk Sign-Up link to register. This is a free event that should last about an hour with 20-30 minutes reserved for Q&A at the end of the walk. The Park District will be providing info their new nature and conservation programs coming out in the Spring of 2022, including Family Camp Out, as well as rolling out our Adopt-A-Park Program for the spring of 2022! In case of inclement weather, the Tree Walk will be rescheduled for Saturday, November 13th.

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