Rockford attempts to live up to its ‘Forest City’ name

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Early settlers dubbed Rockford the Forest City because of the Rock River Valley’s verdant woods. Now in 2022, city officials will work to recapture that woodland magic.

More than 200 trees and saplings will be planted in Rockford over the next several months in an attempt to replace the trees lost over the last year. Taylor Hennelly, who heads Rockford’s forestry department, says that effort will help make Rockford greener.

Trees help with “air quality, you know filtering out pollutants and things like that. Storm water retention, trees have the capacity to catch rain water and absorb it through their roots, let it soak through the bark of their trees as it rains on them,” Hennelly told 23 News.

But preserving the environment isn’t the only way these trees help Rockfordians.

“They have a psychological effect when calming traffic. When you’re driving down a street that’s lined with trees it tends to close the space off and get people to pay attention to what’s going on around them,” he said.

Hennelly also says planting trees can lower utility costs, because they block sunlight and keep houses cool. Above all, city leaders say the trees make Rockford even more beautiful.

“We are incredibly proud of our namesake, being called the forest city, we have more than 30,000 trees in our urban canopy, and this is incredibly important for us,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

The city will also give away trees on April 30th in the back parking lot of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Corbridge Lane.

You can also request a tree! Here is the link to the forestry departments’ website.

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