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Tree-mendous Tree Stories

The Morton Arboretum and Openlands have created this site to celebrate trees that are important to people in the seven-county Chicago region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will). Everyone is invited to submit a story for consideration.

The Morton Arboretum: The Champion of Trees

When Joy Morton established The Morton Arboretum as a private nonprofit organization 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, in 1922, he envisioned a “great outdoor museum” of trees. Today, The Morton Arboretum cares for more than 222,000 live plants in collections representing nearly 4,300 taxa from around the world, including endangered species. The Arboretum conducts leading scientific research on tree health and tree improvement, collects and displays trees for study and enjoyment, offers educational programming for adults and children, and presents nature-related activities year-round.

Visitors learn about trees while enjoying nine miles of paved roads that rise, fall, and wind through 1,700 acres, 16 miles of hiking trails, a restored prairie, the four-acre Children’s Garden, a Maze Garden, the Sterling Morton Library, a Plant Clinic, and the knowledge that every visit supports the Arboretum’s work as the champion of trees.


Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens.

Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.