Dear Editor:

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed many people worldwide and, unfortunately, we have another killer ravaging Mount Carroll and the rest of the U.S. — the Emerald Ash Bore (EAB).

It's not killing people, it's killing trees. Our city has taken down over 100 trees destroyed by this killer, with more to follow. We have been a Tree City for 26 years but are unable to continue replacing all of the dead ones. The numbers are too great. Discouraging.

But wait, there is light at the end of the tunnel. As an alderman, city Tree Board member, and Mount Carroll Community Foundation Board member, I was approached by a caring community donor with an offer.

The donor recognizes Mount Carroll needs a tree replacement program to retain the character of our town and they have offered to make a matching donation to the Mount Carroll Community Foundation Impact Fund for every dollar (up to $5,000), donated to the City's newly established Tree Replacement Fund. This fund will only be used for the city's tree replacement program, with emphasis on those trees killed by the EAB.

It gets better. In discussing our tree replacement program with a state forester, he alerted me to a grant that could help. Applications close at the end of the month for a Trees Forever tree replacement grant of $500-$2,000. This grant is competitive and not guaranteed, but I will give it a shot and apply for the grant.

The last day to make a donation to the city for the matching grant will be this year’s rescheduled Arbor Day on Friday, Oct 16. On that day, the city will start the tree replacement-planting program and will host other associated events. It will be a big "whoop" known as “Arbor Day Palooza.”

The plan: Begin citywide tree replacement planting on Arbor Day, Oct 16. Arbor Day tree planting ceremony at the Stone House, 4 p.m., with refreshments and, a Stone House Memorial Park project update and tour. We will need some volunteers to assist us.

More details will be provided in next week's letter to the editor, but you can begin sending donations to the city for the tree replacement program match: Mount Carroll City Hall, Attn: Tree Replacement Fund, 302 N. Main St, Mount Carroll, IL 61053. Thank you for your generosity.

Mike Risko

Mount Carroll