Family Field Day at St James Farm – A Big Success

It was another beautiful day–full of sunshine, gentle breezes, shady trees, and about 5,000 families and kids. We found homes for about 200-300 more Sugar Maple seedlings!

We set up our booth in a picture-perfect spot in the shade of 2 large maples.
We had a picture-perfect spot in the shade between 2 large maples, right beside the trolley stop and across from the Port-a-Potties, so almost everyone came by eventually.   🙂

For this event, we managed to get some delightful photos of the kids and parents who took us up on our offer to plant Sugar Maples.

A big THANK YOU to each and every person or family who planted a Sugar Maple seedling! You guys are the BEST!

This map shows where people said they would plant. Click red text below for zoom-able,  interactive version with individual names.

Our volunteer tree planters came in many shapes and sizes, but one thing they all shared was a love of the world around them and a desire to make it better by planting a tree.

Click here to view an interactive version of the map.

When people said they would plant

Most people planned to plant their Sugar Maple seedlings within a day or two. This is good news since generally speaking, the sooner these trees are put back in the ground the better the survival rate.

So now, let’s get to the photos of the volunteer planters!

Looking at these happy faces, you almost HAVE to smile! Their enthusiasm is so contagious! Thanks again everyone!







Clever Solution to Rabbit Issues

Here is a picture I took that Sunday with my daughter who helped me plant. It does not have the fence yet around the seedling in the picture however.

Mona wrote:  “We planted the Sugar Maple Seedling Memorial Day weekend. We have it mulched, staked and I also have now put a chicken-wire fence around it since we have rabbit issues. Thanks for the seedlings. There were actually 4 in that single cup.

Sandra said:  “Great idea to put a chicken-wire fence around your baby seedling to keep away the rabbits! Let us know how it works out.”


Judy and Russ’ seedling is in the ground and lookin’ good!

Judy and Russ’ Sugar Maple Seedling is planted, staked, mulched, AND flagged! Good job, guys! 🙂

Hi Sandra.  We planted our maple on the back yard and it’s doing well. Thanks so much!

Hi Judy.  Thank you so much for sending the photo. It really looks good there! You did a good job. I like that you put a stake in the ground with a little colored flag on it too. That should protect it from getting mowed or run over.

Joe planted his already!

Hi Sandy, Here’s our photo planted Memorial Day. Joe L.


Lookin’ good, Joe!

I like that little flower thing. Did you use it as a marker so no one runs over it by accident? If so, good idea!

Thanks for sharing. 🙂

A lovely little tree in a great spot!

Good job to Rachelle who sent this photo and said:

“It’s been in the ground about a week. (I’m getting mulch delivered later this week. I just sat some loose clods of the sod around the base temporarily) You can’t see from the photo, but it is on a parkway near downtown Naperville.”

Rachelle:  The mulch will really help it adjust to it’s new home. And don’t forget to put a stake in the ground to keep it straight and to keep it from being mowed down.

Green Earth Plant Sale – Great Results!

Green Earth Plant Sale
An early morning photo of our booth at Green Earth Plant Sale. This event was held at the McDonald’s farm in Naperville which is where they grow delicious and fresh organic vegetables for their CSA members

This was the first “give-away event” this year and the weather was perfect!

We were able to find homes for about 100-150 Sugar Maple seedlings.

We’d like to sincerely thank Green Earth Institute and the Conservation Foundation for letting us attend. We encourage everyone to sign up for the organic veggies from the CSA and go healthy this year!

And special thanks to Rob McMillan of the Freeman Funding Group for helping at the event.

We Got “Computerize”

Instead of a paper sign up form, we used an online Google form that was pre-loaded into tablet at this event so people could just enter a zip code to show us where they planned to plant their seedlings. We learned some interesting things (see below)!

Planting Locations

We asked people where they were going to plant their trees.

Each blue dot on the map at right represents a zip code where at least one person said they would plant a tree.

Click here to see an interactive version of this map showing more info.  (How cool is that!)

Time to Plant

We asked people when they thought they would plant their trees, since this is an important factor in survival rate. Most people said within 1 and 2 days (the red and blue areas):

Expected Time to Plant

What Does This Mean?

These results are encouraging! The data we collected shows that:

  1. People are interested in and willing to plant large trees such as Sugar Maples even though they take a long time to grow and get quite large.
  2. The seedlings we are giving away are getting a wide geographical dispersal. They are not being clustered together in one local community near the event.
  3. The seedlings will most likely be planted quickly (within a day or 2) which enhances the chance of a successful transplant and long-term survival.

Note that this data is only from one event. However, when the data from previous years is entered, we expect it will be similar because we gave away seedlings at the same type of events last year.

So yes, these are encouraging results. After all, each of these trees can grow to nearly 100′ and live 100-150 years. And all that time, they are converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and filtering out many other air pollutants so we can all breathe easier. They are also doing a long list of other beneficial things for us!

Giving away Sugar Maple seedlings the old fashioned way, one tree at a time.

However, despite these encouraging results, there is still much work to do just to keep up with all the trees that are being cut down every day due to Emerald Ash Boar and other diseases, storm damage, natural aging, and the endless growth of civilization.

So, we’re making good progress, but we definitely keep going!






Spring 2017 Sugar Maple Seedling Give-Away Dates

Apple Blossoms - April, 2017
Apple Blossoms – April, 2017 Spring is finally here, in all it’s glory. In and around Chicago, the apple blossoms are especially nice this year! It’s time to plant some trees!

With the onset of Spring, it’s time to give away more Sugar Maples seedlings to good homes.

This year, we’d like to give away 2,000 to 3,000 more seedlings, if possible.

We also have quite a few 3-6′ tall Sugar Maples. These are 4-6 years old. You are welcome to these, provided you can help dig them up. Contact us for details or to make arrangements:


Green Earth Institute Plant Sale
Saturday, May 13th, 8 am-1 pm

McDonald Farm—60-acre organic vegetable farm in south Naperville, 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565-5447

DETAILS: Get your free sugar maple seedlings at this event! You can also buy organic vegetable and herb seedlings for your garden! Tomatoes, peppers, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, and herbs! All certified organic and grown by Green Earth staff and volunteers, here at our farm. All proceeds will be used to support educational programs of the Green Earth Institute. Click here to view/download a PDF of the organic veggie plant list. Other native trees, shrubs, and grasses and wildflowers will also be available to purchase through collaboration with The Conservation Foundation.

QUESTIONS: call the Green Earth Institute 630-664-5681.

Family Field Day
Saturday, May 27th, 11am to 5pm

St. James Farm, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

DETAILS: Stop by for a free sugar maple seedling and learn about the history and traditions of St. James Farm which are celebrated at this one day annual event featuring equestrian and canine performances, a dairy exhibit, hayrides, kids’ activities, food and more.  Last year they welcomed over 5,200 visitors to this successful event and they expect that number to grow considerably this year.

QUESTIONS: call the Forest Preserve District Headquarters (630) 933-7200.

Veggie Fest, 2017
Saturday & Sunday, August 12-13

Benedictine University, in the beautiful village of Lisle, IL

DETAILS:  Pick up a free sugar maple seedling at Veggie Fest which is one of the largest vegetarian food and lifestyle festivals in North America. Bring your friends, bring your family, and don’t forget your appetite! Admission and parking are both FREE.

QUESTIONS: call (630) 955-1200

Fall Festival
October, 2017 (date tba)

Danada Equestrian Center, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Details: Fall is a great time of year to plant a tree, so stop by and get yours at this an annual family-friendly celebration of the horse at one of DuPage County’s most beautiful fall destinations! Free Admission. This year’s events are yet to be announced, but last year featured: Horse Show, Parade of Breeds, Mid West Renegades Equestrian Drill Team, Northern Illinois Outlaws Cowboy Mounted Shooting, Danada Musical Drill Team, Plus Other Performers, Hayrides, Hobbyhorse Craft, Pony Rides, Stable Tours, Food, Pumpkin & Face Painting, Horse-Care Demos, Nature Art & Photo Show.

QUESTIONS: call the Forest Preserve District Headquarters (630) 933-7200.


Stay tuned for other events.

Contact us at: if you would like us to attend your event.

4 New Homes Found, Trees Nicely Planted!

Denise M. who picked up 4 maple seedlings last weekend and planted them all already.

Nice job, Denise! They look beautiful and with such good work, they are sure to make it through the Winter and grow fast this Spring and Summer.

Thanks for sharing the pics with us! I hope you send us updates from time to time so we can see how fast they grow!

Anyone else out there have photos to share? We’d LOVE to see them! Just send them in. 🙂

New home of seedling
Another really good thing that Denise did is to stake and mulch her seedlings. The tree won’t need the stake too long — only a few years but it will do much better with the mulch for many years to come.