Each spring, the Winnebago County Conservation Board encourages people to plant trees and shrubs by offering free seedlings. This year, their annual Arbor Day Tree Giveaway will be held on Arbor Day, Friday, April 28th, from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. As in the past, the seedlings will be handed out at the Thorpe Park office, located five miles west of Forest City at the end of 345th/”I” Street.
This year’s varieties of trees and shrubs are not only attractive and beneficial to various wildlife species, they are also beneficial to pollinators. The species that will be given away this year are Norway Spruce (8”-17”), Buttonbush (12”-18”), Serviceberry (12”-18”), and Bur Oak (16”-24”). All of these species are excellent for attracting songbirds and other wildlife, but also provide either nectar or shelter for butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. And, like other trees and shrubs, they also clean our air, hold our soil in place, and reduce rainwater runoff. Strategically placed around homes, trees and shrubs can also help to reduce the use of air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. And, of course, they are aesthetically pleasing, adding beauty to our yards and towns.
The free seedlings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Thorpe Park office and quantities may be limited. Since some of these species are not well-known, people are encouraged to do a little research beforehand to decide which seedling they would like. Links to information about each species can be found at the Winnebago County Conservation Board web site (http://www.winnebagoccb.com/winnebago_county_events.shtml ). Information will also be available at the office about each species.
For questions about the Arbor Day Tree Giveaway, people can contact Winnebago County Naturalist Lisa Ralls at either 641-565-3390 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.