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MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — The tree planting project began some weeks back when 800 trees were delivered to the Illinois State Fairgrounds, and were dispersed to over 30 counties for planting this spring. One of the leaders was Curt Sinclair of U of I Extension.

“We’ve taken delivery of about 800 oak trees,” Sinclair said. “There’s 31 counties in Illinois that have cooperated with the Extension office, with the soil and water office, to choose a public site to put 25 of these oak trees on it in a savannah-type setting, so all of the 25 trees will be in a group, so they are not spread out all over the county, they are in one spot and that addresses the number one issue that is listed in the state’s forestry action plan to put groups of oak trees together.”

The trees were purchased with funds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and matched by other groups.

“University of Illinois Extension, in which 4-H is housed, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, their association,” Sinclair said. “Funds come through the forestry council, which is money from the grant from IDNR, is where those funds originated from, that we were able to apply for and obtain to get this kickstarted.”

Then came the need for labor, and Jamie Boas, 4-H leader in Piatt and Dewitt County supervised the planting of 25 on the eastern edge of Monticello.

“This is a great partnership and this is a great partnership of that,” Boas said. “So we have Illinois soil and water, so particularly here in Piatt County we have Piatt county soil and water district out here. Staff and board members. We have the Monticello conservation management class, and so they are members of the Monticello FFA, we also have them as part of Piatt county 4-H. they are f4-H members so kind of a dual role for them. We have a couple volunteers out here, volunteering their time, who are tree experts to make sure there is success in the savannah.”

That’s our report from the farm, today at Monticello’s new savannah.