Jen Mandeville and volunteers helped to plant a river birch tree as part of the Piasa Park planting event on April 28. Photo by Jen Young, NGRREC/L&C Marketing & PREAST ALTON – Volunteers are needed to help the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC®) and the Three Rivers Project plant trees in Alton on Saturday, May 7.

“This spring, Alton-based organizations will be planting trees purchased through a Recover, Replant, Restore! (RRR) grant from Trees Forever,” Trees Forever Field Coordinator Emily Ehley said.

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The first tree plantings will run from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Riverfront Park, located at Landmarks Blvd and 1 Riverfront Drive, towards the playground area. The second planting will go from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Hampton Gardens located at 1402 Highland Avenue, between Hampton and Highland.

“Keep an eye out for some edible plants, we will be planting paw paws, persimmon, American hazelnut, blueberries, and a variety of other fruiting trees and shrubs,” Director of Environmental Education at NGRREC, Sarah Fisher said. “Not only are we adding to the diversity of plant species in Alton, but we are also providing the opportunity for community members to benefit from the additional fruit being provided.”

Throughout the day volunteers will help plant 40 trees across the two locations. All necessary tools will be provided but if participants have their own gardening gloves, those would be great to bring along.

Anyone interested in helping must register at to ensure the proper equipment is available.

This event is leading up to the main planting day, taking place on May 25 at Riverfront Park and along the Broadway corridor in Alton Illinois.

After planting, all newly added trees will be maintained and watered throughout the summer months by volunteers and NGRREC staff.

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“Once the trees are planted, we’ll also need volunteers to water on a weekly basis throughout the summer,” said Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project Co-Coordinator. “This is a perfect opportunity for individuals or families to choose their trees in one of the five planting locations throughout town. This is also a great way for small businesses to take care of a tree near their storefront.”

For more information on summer tree care contact Favilla at

This project is also funded in part by Ameren Illinois, through their “Right Tree Right Place” as well as Swarovski Waterschool USA: Mississippi River program, which operates out of NGRREC.

“The City of Alton has also been a wonderful partner, the work we are doing would not be possible without their willingness and enthusiasm to help us with this effort,” Fisher said.

For more information on the May 7 volunteer day visit or contact Fisher at (618) 468-2783 or

For more information on the Trees Forever grant visit

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

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

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