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Your Chicago: Chicago Tree Project

(CBS) – The Emerald Ash Borer has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees all over North America.

Nearly all of them have had to be cut down, but the city of Chicago has come up with a novel way to preserve a few of them along with some elms and locust trees.

It's called the Chicago Tree Project, CBS 2's Rob Johnson reports.

They are trees with unusual names like "Dying to Survive," "Lead with the Heart," "Fishing Eagle," "Checkmate," and "Flock."

Margot McMahon is responsible for turning "Checkmate" and "Flock" into works of art.

"The people in the neighborhood miss the trees when they go down, and by carving them, we bring art to sometimes an 'art desert,'" she says.

Tired of seeing the trees being decimated, the Chicago Park District began the Chicago Tree Project, calling on artists from Chicago Sculpture International to begin turning the trees from eyesores to neighborhood gems. Eleven have been completed; five more are in the works.

"The sculptural community in Chicago loves Chicago. They love getting out in the neighborhoods," the park district's Mike Dimitroff says.


Since they are dead trees, they are regularly inspected by the city for safety issues and it is expected they will survive three to five years in their newly artistic state.

For more information and a map of the carved tree locations, click here.

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