Making Coal City green again

Volunteers continue restoration of tree canopy by planting 110 trees

In honor of Arbor Day, 170 volunteers, the majority  of them ComEd and Exelon Generation employees, headed to Coal City to continue the revitalization of the village’s green spaces.
It was the second time in three years volunteers came to plant trees. The goal was to begin restoring the tree canopy destroyed in the June 2015 tornado. The powerful EF-3 twister took down an estimated 50,000 trees as it passed through the village.
The Arbor Day planting was organized by the village, ComEd, Trees Forever, iTrees and Spring Grove Nursery.
“We can’t thank ComEd enough,” Coal City Mayor Terry Halliday said while greeting volunteers.
“ComEd has been shoulder to shoulder with us since day one. We’re proud to be partnering again with ComEd in helping to beautify our community. And we thank the other organizations who have come together to help make a difference,” the mayor said.
Volunteers planted 110 trees around the community and ComEd gave away hundreds of free tree saplings to local residents on a first-come, first-served basis.  
Special recognition was given to Barbara Graher, of Trees Forever, a non-profit organization covering Illinois and Iowa, who gave a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of trees.
“I drove around Coal City last fall and it was heartbreaking to see all the empty spots where there were once trees,” Grabner commented. “Trees Forever is happy to contribute to Coal City and it’s exciting to see all you people here wanting to help.”
The remaining cost of the trees was covered by matching donations from ComEd and the village. Residents could select up to two trees from a list of 20 species at a cost of $100 per tree.
Residents were able to select the location where the tree would be planted. Holes were dug in advance by workers from iTrees who also delivered the trees from Spring Grove Nursery in Mazon. Volunteers then placed and completed the plantings on Friday, April 27.
Before planting teams canvassed the community they gathered behind Coal City United Methodist Church for safety tips and a quick lesson for proper tree planting.
A skyline honey locust was planted on site by arborists from iTrees. They emphasized proper hole depth to cover the root ball and to build a circular berm around the hole so water would run toward the trunk and nourish the root system.
The 2-inch tree and root ball weighed nearly 700 pounds, so workers showed how to properly measure then hole before rolling the tree into it. They also demonstrated the need to step back or have spotters to ensure the tree was straight.
The day concluded at Coal City Elementary School, where ComEd and Exelon volunteers led an Arbor Day program for students that included the planting of two trees on the school’s campus.