NEPONSET — For the seventh time, 250 oak trees are headed to Neponset this spring, thanks to the Living Lands and Waters organization in East Moline.
Approximately 100 oak trees for the community will be distributed by Neponset native Marty Golby of Geneseo, a Living Lands and Waters supporter.
He will be in front of the Neponset Post Office and Community State Bank from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 27.
Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
The trees are usually somewhere between 1 and 2 feet tall. Varieties will include bur oak, which are native to the Neponset area, as well as a possibility of red oaks and white oaks.
The remaining 150 trees will be distributed among Neponset Grade School students and staff, either just before or after the April 27 weekend.
The Living Lands and Waters organization’s hope is that the Neponset students and staff will help the trees to find good homes.
This year, Earth Day was Monday, April 22, so the trees are considered part of a nationwide Earth Day celebration.
An important mission for Living Lands and Waters, the Million Trees Project has had a goal of restoring native hardwoods to Illinois and other states since 2007. School children and volunteers of all ages have been helping the organization to realize their goal by planting acorns, weeding rows of seedlings at their tree farms, wrapping trees, and also planting trees for future generations. Several area schools in the Quad City region were involved with tree wrapping earlier this spring.
Neponset Grade School students and the Neponset community have received free trees seven of the past nine years. Since the trees are high demand, they are distributed through their website lottery. According to Golby, the trees are wanted not only by school groups and civic organizations, but also individuals who want to plant trees on private property.
Even though oak trees are usually considered slow-growing, “Every year, someone in Neponset will tell me how much their tree has grown — since some of the LLW trees around Neponset were planted eight years ago,” Golby said. He added that he enjoys spotting the trees that were previously planted around Neponset, and checking on their progress.
Living Lands and Waters, East Moline, was founded by Chad Pregracke in 1998. They are an environmental organization, known primarily for their river clean-up projects on the Mississippi River and other rivers across the United States. Their mission, according to their website, is:
1) To aid in the protection, preservation and restoration of the natural environment of the nations’ major rivers and their watersheds;
2) To expand awareness of environmental issues and responsibility encompassing the river; and
3) To create a desire and an opportunity for stewardship and responsibility for a cleaner river environment.
For more information, visit their website at livinglandsandwaters.org.
For questions or more information about the tree giveaway in Neponset, contact Golby at 309-945-7750.