Prairie Rivers Network Kicks Off “Save Our Trees” Initiative in Illinois

Estimated read time 4 min read

The Prairie Rivers Network (PRN), committed to protecting the environment, has started a “Save Our Trees” initiative. It aims to tackle the issue of herbicides straying off course and damaging plants all over Illinois.


Extent of Damage Revealed

The idea came about when Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin saw several trees with distorted leaves during a PR guided walk in Carle Park last summer. She spotted the same problem on her own redbud tree. Signs like these point to herbicides that were meant to kill weeds but instead hurt nearby vegetation.

Kim Erndt Pitcher, who’s in charge of Ecology at PRN, Eliana Erndt-Pitcher, from the Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) Health, shared that after six years of research by PRN and its partners, they found out that twisted leaves are just one sign of harm from weed killers. This problem isn’t just happening in a few places. It’s affecting everything living across Illinois.


Launching the Campaign

The “Save Our Trees” effort began today at 2 in the afternoon with an event in Carle Park. Environmental advocates, city leaders and people who are worried came to see it. At this event, Erndt-Pitcher talked about how serious it is when weed killers get into the air sometimes right when they’re sprayed or later on when they turn into gas.

“It’s not only an issue for parks or trees along the streets. You can find signs of harm from these drifting chemicals everywhere,” said Mayor Marlin, highlighting that this is a widespread problem.


Research and Monitoring Efforts

The team at PRN includes many nonprofits and conservation groups working together. Since 2018, some scientists have been tracking how common herbicides are. They started looking into it when they got a lot of complaints about sick trees in yards, orchards, and woods. Their thorough study showed that every one of the 13 tree samples taken from around Champaign Urbana had herbicide on them.

Redbuds are especially delicate and quickly show when the environment’s in trouble. But it’s not just plants that suffer. These chemicals can spread to the places where our kids play and even inside our homes through windows. This means there could be even bigger issues for people’s health and nature, said Erndt-Pitcher.


Awareness and Community Engagement

The PRN group is trying to get people to pay attention by doing things at local festivals like the Boneyard Arts Festival. They’ve got all sorts of art planned, such as putting brown burlap ribbons around all 300 trees in Carle Park – it stands for the struggle these trees are facing.

Fighting Herbicide Harm

The group’s exhibitions are designed to get people talking and taking action against dangerous herbicides.

PRN also plans to push for change in other cities across Illinois, hoping to stop the use of lawn herbicides. They argue that we need tougher rules and better enforcement to keep our environment and health safe.


Advocacy for Stronger Regulations

Maggie Brun, PRN’s head, knows how crucial it is for communities and experts to back their cause. “We may not have big agrochemical firms’ cash, but with our mix of folks, facts, and fairness, we can make a difference,” says Brun.


Highlighting the Value of Urban Trees

Mayor Marlin, who’s close to farming by family ties underscores the significance of looking after urban trees while boosting farm output and keeping natural areas safe is what this is all about. “The trees in our city are as important as roads and sewers. They make our city look nice, control the heat, clean water, and they’re really good for our health,” she mentioned.


Understanding Herbicide Drift

Pesticides can accidentally move from where they’re supposed to be through the air by droplets, vapors or tiny particles. This isn’t just bad news for crops next door. It can also wreck nature big time. Teaching people how this happens and how to stop it is a big goal of this project.


Moving Forward

The “Save Our Trees” drive is picking up speed. PRN and its buddies want to spread the word more and push for farming that’s not going to hurt anyone. They plan on doing more studies, getting folks involved, and talking to lawmakers.


In their advocacy efforts, they’re working to lessen the negative impact that stray herbicides can have. Their goal? To encourage an environment in Illinois that’s healthier and sticks to sustainable practices.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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