On the Importance of Trees

Champaign tree damage, May 23, 2019Trees have been on my mind lately since I lost ¾ of a silver maple in my front yard during the overnight storms that hit Champaign and Urbana at the end of May. I knew the tree wasn’t in the best condition. There was at least one hollow section that housed a raccoon, but otherwise, the tree appeared healthy. Fully leafed out it provided shade to our hosta, mayapples, wild ginger and a home to several squirrel nests and possibly a possum in addition to the raccoon. Now however, the squirrels have moved to a red oak across the way, I haven’t seen the raccoon, and in a few weeks the remainder of the tree is scheduled to be taken down. I’m sad to see it go.

Fortunately, whether you live in Champaign or Urbana you are living in a town with a Tree City USA designation. Conferred by the Arbor Day Foundation the program celebrates the importance of an urban tree canopy and promotes active care and management of city trees. Urbana touts that with 11,000 street trees, 4,000 park trees, and an estimated 100,000 privately owned trees its tree canopy makes up one of the most diverse urban forests in the Midwest.

Both cities have interactive tree inventory maps. Champaign’s can be found here and Urbana’s here. And in the Archives we have several tree trails in our collection.

City of Urbana State Street Tree Trail, 2000?Key to the Trees of Urbana-Champaign, 1975

Carle Park Tree Trail, 1986Tree Notes: Some Notable Trees on the Urbana Campus of the University of Illinois, 2010

Check out the interactive maps and see what species of trees your property boasts and then take a walk. You never know what you might find.

- Sherrie B.
  Archives Librarian