Archive for October, 2022

Leave the leaves


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I never cease to be amazed and delighted by the creative stories and art that are shared!

There were two trees.

They are friends.

They have a bird friend too.

Although they can talk to each other through their bird friend.

They cannot play or touch each other.

There was a road in between them.

Then they both grew up.

And one day they can touch each other’s leaves and branches.

They are happy now.

They brid friend sings a song for them.


I climbed a tree almost.

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Again beating the drum of gratitude for Artists Book House  sponsoring a papermaking event with the Evanston Arts Council Special Projects Grant initiated by community building activist Jamie Thome. Many thanks also to volunteers and papermaking enthusiasts, Laura Antolin and Cori Paulsrud who shared the an incredible autumn afternoon in the “Reading Garden” amongst the trees with all those who came to make paper and tell stories. It was a delight! Thank you, thank you!!!

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It was such a joy to share the creative papermaking process with adults and children alike last Sunday. Parent’s taught children. Children taught parents. Onlookers eased in to join the fun. Stories were shared and trees were celebrated.

Many thanks to Artists Book House for sponsoring the event with the Evanston Arts Council Special Projects Grant. Additional confetti to celebrate community building activist Jamie Thome ; amazing artist, fiber and pulp provider Melissa Jay Craig; Evanston Library and librarian (now papermaker) Laura Antolin; volunteers extraordinaires Michael Swierz, Katie Kucera and ABH Intern Kerrigan; and to all who shared in the papermaking/tree storytelling event. It was beautiful!

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OAKtober! Who knew?

OAKtober Banner Image with logo, title, and oak leaves

Oak Awareness Month

Celebrate the beauty and importance of oak trees in Illinois.

In 2015, the governor of Illinois proclaimed that October would officially become OAKtober: Oak Awareness Month.

Oaks represent strength and stature and are historically significant to both the Chicago region and Illinois, evident in the fact that the white oak is the Illinois state tree. Majestic oaks create a sense of awe and wonder. These trees work for us by cleaning our air and water, reducing ambient air temperature, and decreasing our use of energy. But oaks need our help: around the world, more than one-third of all oak species are threatened with extinction.

OAKtober is a time to celebrate oaks and everything that they do for people, as well as to promote the planting and care of these important trees. Every individual, organization, community, park district, forest preserve, and public or private landowner or manager can play an important role in celebrating oaks and oak ecosystems across Illinois throughout the month of October.

Here are some ways to participate in OAKtober:

Find OAKtober events. Search ‘OAKtober’ on the CRTI events page, and fill out the form to add your own.

Host an oak workday. Individuals can help to remove invasive species to improve growing conditions for an oak ecosystem. Or plant, water, and mulch oak trees.

Sponsor a campout. Individuals and families can camp under the oaks and learn about the history of our region and the importance that oaks play.

Lead a walk through an oak woodland. Help participants notice all of the wildlife and plants that make up the oak ecosystem.

Host a talk. Have a local oak expert give a public talk and invite your organization’s members and their friends and neighbors.

Collect acorns and plant them in pots. Plan to plant them out into the community or parks in a few years.

Find your largest oak. Identify the largest oak tree in your community or park, determine its approximate age, and introduce community members to the tree and its history.

Host an OAKtober beer or wine fest.

Engage the local schools. Encourage students to write essays or create posters on the importance of oaks to our communities and our ecosystems.

Hug an oak tree!

Check out these OAKtober resources. These resources from our partners can help you promote oaks and oak ecosystems.

Get involved


CRTI c/o The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532

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Story and art by A. Kaunuda

Visiting the willow was my reason for joining my uncle and cousin on their spring/summer fishing trek to the Washington Park Lagoon.

Three blocks from our house was my grandmother’s flower garden where they dug up the worms for bait.

I packed a picnic lunch because they never ever caught any fish.

While they baited the hooks at the water’s edge I climbed into the welcoming embrace of the sturdy weeping willow branch that extend out over the surface of the lagoon. With my back against the trunk and my feet dangling over the branches just inches from the water’s surface, I sang and cloud surfed and danced my whispered dreams.  I skipped across the water with dragonflies, floated on the surface with willow leaves, inhaled spring and exhaled summer into the last autumn sunset.

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“Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees” by Jared Farmer

Sunday, October 23 2022 – 1:00pm

Event Speaker: Jared Farmer

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History

Upper Gallery, Widener Visitor Center
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Jared Farmer

Please join us on Sunday, October 23, 1:00–3:00 pm, for the official book launch of Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees, by prize-winning author and historian Jared Farmer.

Humans have always revered long-lived trees. But as Jared Farmer reveals in Elderflora, our veneration took a modern turn in the eighteenth century, when naturalists embarked on a quest to locate and precisely date the oldest living things on earth.

Moving from the ancient past to the present and traveling the world from India to Australia to Mexico to Wales, Farmer introduces readers to some of the most cherished remaining big old trees in existence while taking a deep dive into the botany of longevity and the discipline of tree-ring science. It is his hope that we can all channel our shared respect for these trees into collective action to preserve them for future generations.

A presentation by the author will be followed by Q&A and time for book signing. Advance registration is required, and space is limited.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY: All event registrants will receive complimentary admission to the Morris Arboretum on October 23 to spend time before or after the launch event to explore the grounds. Please visit www.morrisarboretum.org for hours.

Thank you to Leslie Winakur for sharing the post!


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Hollow Tree

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