By Mariana Vaca
Lake Forest is abundant with trees – it has even received a Tree City USA certification. During the COVID shutdown, a Lake Forest resident was strolling in Forest Park with her grandson. She realized that there was not enough information to educate her family members about the various trees that constantly surround them.
Woodlands Academy junior Campbell Eggers identifies trees in Forest Park by placing placards by them. When she told acquaintance Campbell Eggers about her dismay about the lack of details about tree names, Eggers realized she wished for the same thing and formed the Girl Scout Forest Park Tree Walk project.
A junior from Woodlands Academy in Lake Forest, Eggers will identify trees in Forest Park by placing placards by them. She believed “it would be great to make our beautiful and unique park by the beach even more special by adding the nature walk.”
With the assistance of City Forester Corey Wierema, Eggers ordered metal placards that have the tree names, scientific names, regions of origin and QR codes that lead to a website with more information about the trees. The website -- created by Eggers -- also has activities that allow individuals to pause in their nature walk, draw, describe what they see, hear, smell, feel. It even contains a nature bingo card, which allows individuals to cross out specific items that they come across in their nature walk such as butterflies, acorns, spider webs, and tree stumps. “Campbell’s project is a great example of how our younger generation embraces the outdoors, appreciates our trees and wants to give back to their community,” Wierema said. “Her project enhances our most visited park in Lake Forest by adding the QR interactive feature. It’s a fun way to experience and interact with nature.”
Although Eggers has grown up in Lake Forest, she recalls that she had never been to Forest Park before the project. She now notes that she visits during “all the seasons” to uncover the beauty of the sun setting, the trees, and the animals. She confesses that there were “so many trees she didn’t know about” and was delighted to uncover so many “fun facts to recognize the trees.” In her venture for the project, she was able to uncover a deeper love for the environment.
Eggers hopes that Lake Forest residents devote and appreciate “how beautiful [nature] is.” She says that “narrowing down all the trees” and figuring out which ones were prominent in the community was the biggest challenge. The research was extensive, with about 80 hours being spent to complete her project, but she has learned about how to treat the environment with care and respect. Eggers is excited to expand her project to other parks in Lake Forest and Woodlands. Visit her Forest Park Nature Walk website.