PEORIA, Ill. (WMDB) — The Greater Peoria family YMCA put new trees in the ground on Thursday thanks to a grant from Illinois Trees Forever.

This project has been in the works for some time now, but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Senior program director Paul Larson says the YMCA has a lot of extra lands and planting these trees will not only add to the landscape but also offer educational benefits.

“We’re doing this adjacent to where a playground will be, we’re in the process of raising funds to build a new playground so we wanted to have this nature center where kids can have an outdoor play experience and this encounter with nature,” said Larson. “It’s sort of two lungs for kids to breathe from in terms of the importance of their development.”

Today they were able to get eight different trees in the ground with help from Wright Tree Services. The trees planted include apple, peach, two pawpaws, hazelnut, two bald cypress, and a burr oak.

“You’re having this idea of how food is grown, how it’s produced, how things are pollinated and just where your food comes from. so it’s kind of like an outdoor learning center that we’re trying to create,” said Larson.

Larson said it also will promote people in the community to get outside more.

“When COVID hit we realized the importance of having a diverse campus,” said Larson. “So what we’re trying to do here is enhance our campus and the beautification of it, but also give kids and families a chance to get outside away from the screens and have this encounter with nature.”

Larson said they will have a grand opening sometime this spring.

Latest Headlines

Stay Connected