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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

A Woodlawn Nonprofit Is Planting Trees Before Winter. Here’s How To Request A Free Tree Near You

Blacks In Greens wants to find homes for 12 large shade trees on parkways before the weather gets too cold.

Nonprofit Blacks In Green will handle the planting and maintenance of any trees planted.
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WOODLAWN — A South Side community group is asking for the public’s help in finding homes for a collection of trees before the weather gets too cold. 

Blacks In Green, a green community economic development organization, wants to plant 12 large specimen shade trees in parkways near homes primarily along South St. Lawrence Avenue in Woodlawn. Organizers said they will oversee all planting, care and maintenance for the trees for the next several growing seasons — they just need suitable locations.

Anyone interested in having trees planted in parkways near their homes can call Naomi Davis at 773-678-9541.

“We need to plant the trees before we get a frost…or they may not make it. We can’t wait too long!!” the group posted on Facebook.

Blacks in Green, which works to make the South Side more environmentally sustainable, is trying to mitigate deforestation in Black communities on the South Side. Woodlawn’s tree canopy is at 15 percent, below the city’s average of 19 percent, according to the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.

The group hopes planting more trees on parkways instead of private property will add more shaded spots in communal areas. They also hope the trees will prevent more “heat islands” in Woodlawn, urbanized areas that are warmer than surrounding rural areas due to human activities and development. 

“The isolation and failure of affordability of cooling utilities has, in the past, had a real effect of causing respiratory triggers and death,” said Naomi Davis, Blacks In Green founder. “So we’re looking at how we are building up that green infrastructure to keep our people happier and healthier.”

The group is pinpointing the St. Lawrence area for 2021 but plans more tree-planting in other areas of Woodlawn in the future.

“We have a strategy that begins with what we call the spine of West Woodlawn, that St. Lawrence goes right down the middle of West Woodlawn, Davis said. “So our strategy has been to focus on reforesting St. Lawrence first and moving out from there in, in consecutive years.” 

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