• Rebecca Foster-Goodman

New City Map Helps Residents Identify Tree Species

By Rebecca Foster-Goodman Corey Wierema, City Forester for the City of Lake Forest, sat down with Lake Forest Love to discuss how a new tree map on the city website will help residents identify tree species, sizes and more. A tree map just went live on the City of Lake Forest website. What is it?


The Forestry section started a tree inventory back in 2011-2012 that began recording the size, species, and health of each tree on city-owned property. The software we use for that inventory came out with a community engagement map that connects with the public.

The Forestry group, led by Corey Wierema (top row second from left), has been working to create an inventory which identifies the species and size of thousands of trees. A resident can click on cityoflakeforest.com/TreeMap and zoom in to see the size and species of trees on City property. And the map provides real-time information. As soon as we change something on our end, like plant a new tree, it is updated on the portal. We have 30,000 trees listed in our inventory and are in the process of checking those trees again to update their health and sizes.


How will the tree map benefit residents?


We take a lot of phone calls from residents wanting to know what species of trees are in their yards. One of the services Forestry offers is a property walk. During these walks, we identify species on their property and offer advice about care and maintenance. The tree map will offer a first step in identifying what residents have on their parkways. Hopefully, that will lead to identifying what species are on the rest of their property. Many times, a resident admires trees on someone else’s property. The tree map will provide an easy way for residents to identify those trees.


The tree map also benefits the Forestry Department by keeping track of scheduled maintenance and identifying health issues of trees. We also use the map to identify where the open planting areas are and where the last round of removals took place. It really helps us keep track of the elements and stay up to speed with maintenance.


What other services does Forestry provide?


Forestry is responsible for maintaining the health and beauty of our urban forest. We are committed to preserving trees on both public and private property. We also provide many services to residents such as pruning, tree removal and planting, sidewalk clearing, special brush pick-up, wood-chip delivery and plant health care. All of our services are listed on the City of Lake Forest website.


It is important to note that a Forestry division is somewhat unique to see in a city. It’s definitely not as common as seeing Streets & Sanitation or Water & Sewer. I feel extremely lucky to work in a community where the residents value their trees.


April is Earth Month. How is the City of Lake Forest celebrating?


April has always been a big month for the Forestry section. Not only is it Earth Month, but it is also the month for Arbor Day. Arbor Day is one of the biggest highlights of our year, especially since Lake Forest has been a USA Tree City for 42 years. On Arbor Day we always plant a tree at a school or a park as part of our Tree City USA requirements. This year we will have the celebration at Northcroft Park on April 29 at 10 a.m.


In the past we would deliver seedlings to elementary schools in Lake Forest; however, we had to shift gears once the pandemic hit. We started making those seedlings available to all residents, not just school-age children. Together with Lake Forest Open Open Lands, Serbian Spruce and Douglas Fir seedlings will be available at locations scattered around town. Residents can get a complete listing of locations on our website.


Every once in a while, I’ll be doing a property walk and a resident will point out an Evergreen or some other tree that their child brought home 20 years ago. It’s really cool to see the seedlings tradition throughout the town.


How do the residents of Lake Forest support the Forestry division?


We get a lot of support from residents. We offer a high level of service, and the residents really appreciate that. This is a community that values its trees and natural areas. We are fortunate enough to have the funds to replace trees that are removed due to disease or storm damage. If you have a tree removed in the spring, chances are you’ll have it replaced that same year. When a resident calls Forestry for assistance, whether they need assistance with a broken branch or want help identifying a tree, they are getting certified arborists on their properties. My entire team consists of certified arborists that have a passion for what they do.