2018 Fall Festival at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

October 14th, 2018 at the Danada Equestrian Center, Wheaton, IL

We started early & didn’t stop ’til we ran out of trees!

We started handing out sugar maple seedlings at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s 2018 Fall Festival about a 1/2 hour before the event opened. The trees were larger than last year, as they had had an extra year to grow. It was also was easier than expected to dig them up due to the heavy rains several days before which had softened the soil. Because of that, some of these trees had all their roots intact and some of these roots were 2-3 feet long! I think they should all do very well if planted right away and according to the Planting Directions.

Another 100 trees given away!

This photo came in the day after the event…

Looks like this family did a great job planting!

  • They found a good spot
  • Planted their tree right away
  • Used mulch
  • Even used a protective wire wrapping. Great idea! Really helps keep lawn mowers at a safe distance.
  • My favorite things: the smiles and the red sneakers! Soooo cute. 🙂
  • And what a beautiful tree, too!
  • If you got a tree, please send me a photo of it planted! I would love to see it. (info@thesandymapleseedproject.com)

The happy gentleman below was our very first “taker” at this event. This is always a special moment for me because it shows that people really are going to take trees home and plant them so all our hard work has been worthwhile.

All in all, it was a wonderful crowd, just like last year. Many people stopped by our booth and told us about the tree that they got from us last year or even the year before.  Their trees were all doing well except for one, where the tree was run over by a mower.

We ran out of trees 2 hours before the event was over, so we could have found even more homes if we had more. I am encouraged that so many people are “getting it” about the value of trees and all the good that these magnificent living things do for us. Really, we can not live without them.

Judy and her little tree

What a great photo that Judy sent it! Looks like a wonderful spot and I am so glad to see the wire and what looks like mulch! Don’t worry that the leaves are turning and falling off. That is what deciduous trees do each fall! This spring, the little tree will bud out nicely with a brand new batch of leaves and then probably grow a foot or two throughout the summer. Good job, Judy!

This makes 8,000 to 10,000

While it is hard to count so many trees over so many years, I believe it is safe to say that I have given away at least 8,000 to 10,000 sugar maple seedlings and about a dozen oak trees as well.

While it has been fun and rewarding and definitely worth it, it has also been a lot of hard work and a bit expense (pots, signage, booth setup, etc)! Since I have run out of seedlings, it is with bittersweet feelings that I call this project successfully completed and say good-bye. I will leave this blog up in case it encourages others to be brave and try to do something on a personal level to help the Earth and the life-forms we co-exist with, but it is time for me to turn the page and start a new adventure.

Before I sign off for the last time…

My heartful thanks …

  • To everyone who got a tree, planted it, and are caring for it and teaching their kids to do the same.
  • To everyone who made a donation to help cover the costs.
  • A very special thanks to all my dear friends (Marie, Bonnie, Ann, Karsten, Rob), Steve Tiwald at the Green Earth Institute, Jim Kleinwachter at The Conservation Foundation, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Brownies, USBank, and countless others who helped in one way or another to dig, carry, hand out trees, or even just give much-needed advice and support. I could not have done this without each of you!
  • For this last event, special thanks to Bonnie, who worked by my side for 2 full days.  You are awesome! I will send you a big bag of Epsom Salt so you can soak in a hot bath–you deserve it!)
  • To the Foresters of the City of Wheaton and the City of Naperville for taking some of the seedlings and planting them and for providing free mulch.
  • To the Veggie Fest folks and the DuPage Forest Preserve (especially
    Wayne Zaininger) for generously letting me attend their events at no charge over the years!

Bye everyone and please remember to send some photos of your planted seedling! It will make my day! (info@thesandymapleseedproject.com)