A climate action evanston program

Trees For the 5th Ward

It's lost tree canopy due to redlining, smaller lots and narrower parkways, compared to other wards. Learn how we're working to grow its native tree canopy.

More about what we're doing

Most recent version posted on:
February 29, 2024

We plant free native trees in the 5th ward, and demonstrate how to care for them.

NEW! SHARE your experience with Green Space in the 5thWard. TAKE THE TREE SURVEY.

Evanston RoundTable Video

Trees fight urban heat, capture particulates and release moist oxygen, helping people coping with asthma and high blood pressure.  They encourage residents and shoppers to linger on tree-lined streets, enhancing safety and raising the amount that shoppers spend.  Drivers even slow down on tree-lined streets. By providing shade and moisture, trees  filter stormwater and shield homes from winds. Plus a lot more. Yet the 5th Ward has fewer trees than other Evanston neighborhoods, and higher levels of asthma and high blood pressure, measured by the city EPlan.  

NHE will donate trees to residents of the 5th Ward, and schools serving the 5th ward. Up to 50 trees in 2024.

EMAIL habitat@naturalhabitatevanston.org your name, address, email and phone, or mail your information to Climate Action Evanston FREE TREES, P.O. Box 1748, Evanston, IL 60204. We will reach out to you to visit your property, and determine when your tree can be planted. The trees are native to the Midwest, and generally are planted in Spring and Fall with help from volunteers. Residents must water the trees (typically 10 gallon/week), protect them from mowers, keep them properly mulched and learn how to care for the trees. Fall typically is the best time to plant trees because it allows the tree to go dormant before summer heat.

Diverse native tree species, but oaks are a priority.

Oaks are the top plant for wildlife in North America (a "keystone" species). They are host plants to more than 500 species of caterpillars, meaning that those caterpillars need oaks to develop into butterflies and moths, just as monarch butterflies need milkweed.  Without oaks, those species cannot survive. No other plant in North America hosts as many species of pollinators. In addition, oaks feed other insects, birds and other wildlife with acorns, and other forage.

Tree planting in the 5th ward
Planting a redbud tree in the 5th ward

Although the ward is changing, the 5th Ward overall has among Evanston's lowest income levels and life expectancy, and appears to have lost private tree canopy relative to other areas. Natural Habitat also shares trees in other under-canopied, historically underserved neighborhoods in Evanston.


5th Ward Tree Giveaway Doorhanger (English and Spanish)

Share out information on the giveaway of native trees for the 5th Ward, a historicaly underserved area of Evanston.

Share the DoorhangerShare the Doorhanger

NWF WIldlife Certification

Certify your habitat with NWF

Certify with NWFCertify with NWF

Our Yard Maintenance Brochure

Yard Maintenance Brochure in English and Spanish, NHE

View a pdf file of our brochureView a pdf file of our brochure

Our Natural Habitat Newsletter Signup

Sign up for the NHE Newsletter

NHE Newsletter SignupNHE Newsletter Signup

Transitioning from Turf PPT

Presentation on Transitioning from Turf (Powerpoint), January 2023. Touches on the issues with turf, why native plants, why leave leaves, concerns about neonicotinoids and outdoor lighting.

Transitioning From Turf PowerpointTransitioning From Turf Powerpoint

Transitioning from Turf presentation to FLOW

Transitioning from Turf presentation to FLOW (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, Columbus, Ohio) lead by Leslie Shad, NHE Lead. DIscusses the issues with turf, why native plants and why leave leaves, the concern about neonicotinoids, and how to navigate outdoor lighting.

Transitioning from Turf Video PresentationTransitioning from Turf Video Presentation

Gardening that Matters video presentation

Gardening that Matters. Get Started or Enhance your Native Garden.  March 2023 presentation to North Shore Senior Center's Tuesday Club. A simple way to take action for climate, community healthand biodiversity: Swap out your lawn for native plants.  Reconsidering theculture of lawns. Why it matters, steps to prioritize, how to get started, andhow to amplify the change. Leslie Shad of Natural Habitat Evanston presents.

See videoSee video

Evanston's Tree Ordinance

Evanston requires a permit to remove trees.

Read the Ordinance and city staff memoRead the Ordinance and city staff memo

NWF Native Plants Finder: Search your zip code for plants ranked by Tallamy

Website database: search your zip code for plants ranked by Tallamy

Check out your zip code Check out your zip code

Audubon Plants for Birds Database by zip code

Audubon Plants for Birds Database

Audubon Plants for Birds DatabaseAudubon Plants for Birds Database

Chicago Audubon Society Plants for Birds

Chicago Audubon Society Plants for Birds

Chicago Audubon Society Plants for BirdsChicago Audubon Society Plants for Birds

Wildlife Values from Doug Tallamy, Univ of Delaware

Plants measured as host plants for US caterpillar species from Doug Tallamy, Univ of Delaware

Wildlife Values from Doug TallamyWildlife Values from Doug Tallamy

The Morton Arboretum: Benefits of Trees

From Saving you Money to the Air you Breathe: Tree Benefits

The Morton Arboretum Tree BenefitsThe Morton Arboretum Tree Benefits

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - search native plants by state

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - search native plants by state

Lady Bird Johnson WIldflower Search State DatabaseLady Bird Johnson WIldflower Search State Database

You're Needed! Here Are Some Involvement Opportunities

Donating to Climate Action Evanston and earmarking your donation for Natural Habitat Evanston. You can further earmark your donation to one of our initiatives.

Take the Pollinator and Bird Pledge

take the pledgetake the pledge

Join our Pollinator Pledge and let the city and landscapers know we care about sustainable yards. Take an optional yard sign to spread the word.

Join the Natural Habitat Evanston Newsletter


Stay updated on green goings on in Evanston, workdays, advocacy issues and more.

Buffalo Grass Anyone?

Buffalo GrassBuffalo Grass

$25/bag to local residents (pickup; no shipping). We also have some $5 seed packets of bottlebrush and little bluestem grass. While supplies last. Emails should include your phone number and which species you are requesting. Pay by check payable to Citizens’ Greener Evanston at pickup.

Volunteer at plantings and invasive removals: parks and schools

Outdoor workdaysOutdoor workdays

Help at outdoor workdays

Join No Mow May

No Mow MayNo Mow May

Rethink how you Lawn

Sign on: Northwestern students Petition for Bird-Friendly Films at Mudd Library

Sign onSign on

Northwestern students Petition for Bird-Friendly Films at Mudd Library. Mudd Library accounts for over 14% of bird deaths and injuries on campus each year. Applying patterned window film to a portion of the building would dramatically reduce collisions that are fatal to birds.

More Ways to Volunteer: Spread the word

Email usEmail us

Share out brochures, doorhangers, or flyers. Collect a bunch of materials on the 5th Ward Tree Giveaway, Pollinator Pledge, Eco landscaping, Yard care, Light pollution, Leaf blowers are an eco-disaster, or Buffalo Grass.

Join our Facebook Group

NHE FB GroupNHE FB Group

Get updates and share your thoughts on our FB Group. You can also check out our FB page here https://www.facebook.com/NaturalHabitatEvanston

More yard signs: Mowing, Leaves, Leafblowers?

2-Sided Yard Sign2-Sided Yard Sign

Just want to spread the word on certain steps? Mow Less-Leave Leaves (2-sided yard sign) or Leafblowers sign

Join the Isabella Woods Newsletter

Isabella Woods NewsletterIsabella Woods Newsletter

Get news the next time there is a threat to Isabella Woods. (Only sent when there is news.)

Certify with National Wildlife Federation

Certify now with NWFCertify now with NWF

Provide Food, Water, Shelter, Places to Raise Young and Sustainable Steps for wildlife. It helps Evanston maintain its NWF Community-wide Wildlife Habitat certification.