Morton Arboretum awarded $15 million to help expand urban tree canopy

Kid helping to plant a tree
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The Morton Arboretum is being awarded $15 million of federal funds from the U.S. Forest Service through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a historic amount for the arboretum.

The money will be used to help the arboretum in its efforts to help restore urban forests in underserved Illinois communities.

Grants part of a $1 billion investment to boost tree canopy

The funding is part of a larger $1 billion investment that’s being divvied up nationwide to help improve the tree canopy in communities across the country. The Morton Arboretum is getting the largest award in Illinois as well as the largest award to a public garden in the nation.

“This is significant recognition from the U.S. Forest Service of The Morton Arboretum’s expertise and proven ability to partner with organizations and manage sub-grant funding for community forestry projects,” said Arboretum President and CEO Jill Koski in a press release.

Sub-grants to groups to help expand access to trees, fight climate change

The Arboretum’s Chicago Region Tree Initiative (CRTI) will be giving sub-grants to a number of groups whose focus is to support underserved communities through the increase of access to trees, while providing other Earth-friendly benefits.

“Numerous scientific studies have proven the benefits of a mature tree canopy, including healthier and more resilient people and communities,” CRTI Director Lydia Scott added. “Those who live in areas with low tree canopy are disproportionately impacted by poor air quality, flooding, higher temperatures and associated health challenges. All of these are issues that trees help to address.”

Grant applications will be posted on the CRTI website in the coming months.

385 grants distributed

In total there were 385 grant recipients through the Inflation Reduction Act funding, all of whom have made it their mission to help increase equitable access to trees and nature. Awards were given to groups across all the U.S. states, two U.S. territories, three U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands and also several tribal communities. The IRA is the largest climate investment in history.

Photo courtesy: The Morton Arboretum

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