Metro East Tree Week

We here at HeartLands Conservancy are all about trees. Why? Because trees are vitally important to our planet and our well-being. Find out the benefits of trees, what HeartLands is doing to raise awareness and help reforest Southern Illinois, and how you can help.

The Benefits of Trees

There are many benefits to trees. Most people are familiar with how trees produce oxygen through photosynthesis. But did you know that trees also clean our air by absorbing odors and pollutant gasses, such as carbon dioxide, through their leaves and storing it in their bark and roots? The benefits of trees don’t stop there! Trees are also crucial in…

  • Cooling streets and communities by providing shade and releasing water vapor through their leaves.
  • Reducing electric bills by cutting air conditioning needs in the summer.
  • Lowering water bills by slowing water evaporation from the lawn.
  • Reducing water pollution and soil erosion.
  • Healing! Patients with trees outside of their hospital windows heal faster than those without trees. Neighborhoods that have more trees are less violent than barren ones.
  • Providing important food, shelter, and cover for wildlife. For example, the federally endangered native pollinator, the Northern Long-Eared bat roosts and forages in upland forest trees during the spring and summer.

Tree Week 2022

From Earth Day to Arbor Day, HeartLands Conservancy will celebrate trees in a BIG way! During Metro East Tree Week 2022, we will spread the message far and wide about the benefits trees provide, and there will be activities for people of all ages. Throughout the week, HeartLands Conservancy will also give over 175 trees to local communities.

 Friday, April 22 at 6:30 pm:

Earth Day Exclusive White Oak Society Earth Day Tour of Poag Sand Prairie. Invitations will be sent to White Oak members.

Monday, April 25:

Community Tree Distribution Day

Free trees for communities and community organizations for planting in public places.

Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 pm:

Tree ID Course and Walk-about at HeartLands Conservancy’s office

A short course open to the public on how to identify trees and a sunset city walk around Belleville to put your skills to the test. Registration required. See our website.

Wednesday, April 27:

Kids Experience Day with Fairmont City Schools

Fairmont City schools will be involved in local and hands-on restoration efforts to improve their community through reforestation and wetland preservation.


Thursday, April 28 at 1:00 pm:

Tree City USA Informational Session

A one-hour virtual seminar for municipalities on how to become a Tree City USA, and how HeartLands Conservancy can help. See our website for more information.

Friday, April 29:

Tree Planting Day (Arbor Day)

Tree planting in communities.

Saturday, April 30:

HLC Native Plant Sale Order Pickup

Check out for event registration.

Metro East Tree Week 2021 Impact

The 2nd Annual Metro East Tree Week was a great success. HeartLands Conservancy gave away over 1,000 trees to local communities and individuals throughout the week! Most trees were planted in public places in Collinsville, O’Fallon, Swansea, and Belleville.

How You Can Help Become a Tree Steward

Are you interested in learning how to plant, monitor, and care for the trees in your community? Consider becoming a Tree Steward! No prior experience is needed.

Tree Stewards are trained volunteers who help plant, monitor, and care for new trees in southwestern Illinois communities. Tree Stewards complete a six-week virtual training program, meeting one hour a week to learn about trees, their benefits and care, and learn practical hands-on skills in six key areas:

  • Tree identification
  • Biology
  • Soils
  • Planting
  • Pruning
  • Insects & Diseases

    After completing the training, Tree Stewards will plant and care for a tree provided by HeartLands Conservancy. Graduates of the Tree Steward Program receive a free t-shirt and certificate of participation. We ask that Tree Stewards provide 24 hours of volunteer service annually in community forests, parks, and HLC projects such as the Swansea Exploration Garden.

    If you are interested in the Tree Steward Program or volunteering with HeartLands Conservancy, please complete the Volunteer Application located on our website at