ALTON – Funding from the Inflation Reduction Act has enabled the US Forest Service to make historic investments in boosting the nation’s tree cover in urban, suburban, and rural communities nationwide. Friends for Tree Equity, Illinois is working to bring tree equity to central and southern Illinois by supporting and partnering with grant recipients to expand tree canopy in disadvantaged communities. Friends for Tree Equity Illinois will host a free virtual webinar “Uprooting Injustice by Planting Trees” on Wednesday, March 13 from 6:30 to 7:45pm to discuss how communities can benefit from this funding. Trees Forever, Faith in Place, and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative will present information on resources available for communities surrounding tree equity. Municipal staff, organizations, and interested community members can register for the webinar here.

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The virtual webinar, which will be moderated by Christine Favilla of the Three Rivers Project of Sierra Club Illinois, will feature the following speakers: Zach Wirtz, Community Manager with the Chicago Region Trees Initiative of the Morton Arboretum (CRTI), Wade Halva, Southern Illinois Outreach Coordinator with Faith in Place; and Emily Ehley, Program Manager with Trees Forever.

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The webinar’s first presenter, CRTI, works to ensure urban forest is healthier, more diverse, and more equitable by 2050. Thanks to Inflation Reduction Act Funding, CRTI will broaden its reach outside of Chicago to reach disadvantaged communities in downstate Illinois. All three webinar presenters—Faith in Place, Trees Forever, and CRTI—will share more information about how this funding will provide a literal breath of fresh air to communities across Illinois.

“Faith in Place has received funding from the US Forest Service to help eligible disadvantaged communities across Illinois plant trees, and I look forward to sharing more information about how houses of worship, faith-based organizations, and community members across the state can take advantage of these funds,” said Wade Halva, Southern Illinois Outreach Coordinator with Faith in Place. “Disadvantaged communities need trees the most. Trees help filter airborne pollutants, keep urban neighborhoods cooler, and shield against the worst effects of climate change.”

“Trees Forever can fund municipalities’ projects with our Restore, Replant, Recover program or through this new Inflation Reduction Act funding,” said Emily Ehley, Program Manager with Trees Forever. “Trees Forever has long partnered with community volunteers, civic leaders, government officials, and landowners to design tree planting projects that meet local needs, and we’re excited to receive this boost in funding to help bring these projects to more communities across Illinois.”

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