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Evanston aims to maintain health of its more than 30,000 trees

Evanston aims to maintain health of its more than 30,000 trees
Evanston aims to maintain health of its more than 30,000 trees 01:56

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) – Trees in Evanston are getting some extra attention. The city is updating its tree inventory, so it can keep tabs on the health of the urban forest.

As CBS 2's Noel Brennan reported, the work is just getting started.

By any measure, an arborist like Brent Knepper never met a tree he didn't like.

"Evanston has some good trees," Knepper said. "Yeah, definitely known for it."

He enjoys his latest job in Evanston, though he often has to explain what exactly he's doing with fellow field techs from Great Lakes Urban Forestry Management.

"Especially when it's very cold and everything's covered in snow, people will wonder, 'What are you doing with the trees right now?'" Knepper said.

He added, "We're out here updating Evanston's parkway tree inventory."

The city wants to keep tabs on every tree, more than 30,000 of them.

"We love our trees, and we want to take care of them," said Kevin Ward, with the city's Forestry Division.

Ward said this is the first update to the city's tree inventory since 2014.

"The inventory helps us manage the urban forest as a whole," he said. "Keep up with the sizes of the trees, the location, the amount of trees we have on the parkways, and to help us with our maintenance."

Updating a digital map of the urban forest helps Evanston make decisions down the road.

"Health, monitoring, pruning, or even up to removals," Knepper added.

Arborists hit the ground in Evanston last week and they'll be meeting and measuring trees in sections of the city through February.

"Pretty much the entire day is walking," he said. "In an average day, we'll do between 250 to 300 trees."

They'll be getting to know an urban forest, as it grows in Evanston.

"The trees are still out here, so we're still out here," Knepper said.

Evanston's Forestry Division plans to update a portion of its inventory annually, so that every single tree will get a visit over the next few years.

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