Why Was Flossmoor Selected for Plant the Gem?

Earning a $30,000 Federal earmark for a community-wide tree planting is no small feat, so when the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) confirmed to the Village of Flossmoor that it would, in-fact be the recipient of such a gift, Village staff were beyond ecstatic. The first question to be raised, however, was “Why Flossmoor?”


The answer from CRTI turned out to be fairly simple – because Flossmoor values the preservation and advocacy of trees, and has the notoriety of being a community filled with generous people willing the lend a helping hand. Or, more specifically, that Flossmoor residents never hesitate to volunteer, a fact highlighted particularly by the Hidden Gem Half Marathon.


After being connected to the Village by Flossmoor Green Commissioner Tristan Shaw, Trinity Pierce, Stewardship Manager and Certified Arborist with CRTI, learned quickly that a large undertaking like Plant the Gem could be a real possibility in Flossmoor.


“When we learned (there is) such an active volunteer program around the Gem, which attracts people interested in healthy living, healthy activities, we knew it was a good fit,” said Pierce. “Our program is all about connecting folks with trees in any way we can, advocating for trees because they provide us so many benefits, and creating a tree canopy that is more diverse, more abundant and more economically dispersed in our seven-county region.”


CRTI also saw the potential for Flossmoor to serve as an example and create a blueprint for other communities to follow suit.


However, after successfully recruiting more than 250 volunteers, digging 45 pre-established holes, distributing more than 300 trees to locations across Flossmoor, and organizing each volunteer team to a planting location, a planting of this scale is not for the faint of heart. Having more than 300 new trees added to Flossmoor’s urban canopy is well worth the effort.


After helping to organize the planting with Village staff and members of the Hidden Gem Half Marathon planning committee, CRTI raved that out of the thousands of tree plantings it has done, Flossmoor’s Plant the Gem is one of the most organized and well-put-together events.  


The culmination of the months’ worth of planning, hours spent organizing volunteers, and $30,000 worth of trees distributed across Flossmoor comes together this Saturday, October 15. It will be a day for the history books.