Sustainable urban wood usage has been promoted countless ways over the last decade, from meetings with locals to published reports. However, to our knowledge “The Playground Tree,” is the only example of a children’s book based on the topic.
Author Jeanette Joy’s whimsical tale of the journey of an urban tree, beautifully illustrated by J.R. Ralph), was published in December 2014. In the story, a playground tree is attacked by the emerald ash borer and must be taken down. However, not all is lost, as the tree is harvested into lumber that is crafted into classroom tables.
“The Playground Tree” conveys a wonderful “Circle of Life” message. The book is available for $10.00. Click here to order a copy.
Joy’s book is copyrighted by the West Chicago Park District, which knows firsthand about finding value from felled trees.
After a massive storm knocked down more than trees in Reed Keppler Park in July 2012, West Chicago Park District officials worked to salvage logs from the damaged trees. Some of the reclaimed wood was donated to the Architecture & Furniture class of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). There, students created some 50 pieces of furniture and artwork that one-year later were displayed as part of IIT’s Out of the Woods exhibit during West Chicago’s annual Railroad Days festival. The works were sold or raffled off; proceeds benefited Reed Keppler Park and The Conservation Foundation.