Calling volunteers to help plant trees at Piasa Park.ALTON - The City of Alton, Three Rivers Project of Sierra Club Illinois, and National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) are calling for volunteers to help plant trees at Piasa Park, less than one mile upstream from Downtown Alton on Thursday, April 28.

This project is funded through a Trees Forever Recover, Replant, Restore grant.This spring, Alton is planting trees across the city thanks to a Recover, Replant, Restore! (RRR) grant secured by Sierra Club Illinois and NGRREC from Trees Forever and the Swarovski Waterschool. The City of Alton secured additional support for this project from Ameren Illinois’ “Right Tree Right Place” program. To volunteer at the first tree planting session, RSVP at

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“The Recover, Replant, Restore! grant is funded through a partnership between Trees Forever, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Forest Service, and helps communities throughout Illinois recover from natural disasters, replant with a diverse, disease and storm-resistant selection of tree species, and restore a healthy and beneficial community forest,” says Trees Forever Field Coordinator Emily Ehley. “These grants are unique because Trees Forever not only supplies funding to get trees into the ground, but also provides the technical assistance and long-term support necessary to grow strong and resilient urban forests.”

The Sierra Club Illinois Three Rivers Project and NGRREC are prioritizing planting native trees in areas of Alton that do not currently have a diversity of tree species or have limited canopy cover. Volunteers are needed to help plant these trees this spring and are invited to join the first planting session on Thursday, April 28. Volunteers should wear boots or shoes they don’t mind getting muddy. The event coordinators will provide tools.

“Native trees are critical to improving green spaces and recreation areas throughout our community, while also helping to mitigate the effects of climate change and supporting the ecology of the Metro East region,” says Christine Favilla, co-Coordinator of the Three Rivers Project of Sierra Club Illinois. “Many insects, birds, and animals depend on native trees for food and shelter. Native trees also help stop soil erosion, resist pests and diseases, and help cool down our environment.”

“This project has allowed organizations and community volunteers to come together to help restore habitat and plant trees throughout the Alton area,” says Sarah Fisher, NGRREC Director of Environmental Education. “The impacts of this project will last for years to come.”

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“Trees help create neighborhoods,” says Ward 7 Alderman Nathaniel Keener. “They give us shade and fresh air, improve property values, and they create an inviting atmosphere for folks who may want to make Alton their home. This has been such an exciting project to work with."

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.8 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Trees Forever

Trees Forever, a nonprofit organization nationally headquartered in Marion, Iowa, is dedicated to planting trees, encouraging volunteer and youth involvement and environmental stewardship. For 30 years, we’ve been planting a better tomorrow, and in Illinois, we planted our one-millionth tree in 2020. For more information, visit or call 800-369-1269.

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