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4-H teams up with community to plant trees in Kendall County

groups of people holding shovels and with a newly planted oak tree

OSWEGO, Ill. – Bluegrass Prairie Park in Kendall County is now home to 25 new oak trees thanks to local youth, community members, and organizations. The group of oak trees will help supplement oak-hickory forests currently under threat in Illinois.

In light of this, Illinois 4-H partnered with Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) to help bolster local areas by planting more than 900 oak trees in 38 counties this spring.

“Oak savannas are being overtaken by invasive species, as well as more shade-tolerant trees, such as maples,” says Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H specialist. “The natural world is talking to us, and Illinois 4-H is primed to listen, learn, and act.”

The 4-H Green Communities Tree Program tackles global issues at a local level by combining the "learn by doing" philosophy of 4-H with guidance of the Illinois Forest Action Plan. When combined with the 2022 plantings, the effort brought a total of 1,725 new oak trees to our state.

On April 8, local volunteers – representing 4-H, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and the local SWCD –

teamed up to plant fire-resistant, native oak species along the bike path at Bluegrass Prairie Park West in Oswego. Staff from Oswegoland Park District, University of Illinois Extension, and Soil and Water gave guidance and provided a demonstration.

“Everyone dug right in. We had an environmentally-minded group of families, teens, adults, and even one dog, come out to help us with this effort,” said Kim Eisnaugle, 4-H Program Coordinator in Kendall County. “The youth learned how to plant and mulch trees properly and clean up after too. We look forward to watching these oak trees grow over time.”

To help support this project, please visit Prairie Materials provided support for this program. Learn more about 4-H in DuPage, Kane, and Kendall counties at

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

For Further Information, contact:

Sources:  Curt Sinclair, University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist, and Kim Eisnaugle, 4-H Program Coordinator Kendall County

Writers:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office, and Rosie Ralston, Publicity and Promotion Specialist for DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.