MillionTrees Project

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May 2016 – Over 600 students from Riverdale Elementary School (Port Byron, IL) excitedly gathered together with the LL&W crew, and “The Walking Tree of Life” for the presentation and planting of our one-millionth tree!


The MillionTrees Project was initiated in 2007 to help further our mission to protect, preserve and restore the natural environment of our nation’s major rivers and their watersheds. Our mission is to not only clean up the riverways, but to also enhance the watershed by planting native trees and removing invasive plants.

In 2007 we started collecting and planting acorns with a goal of growing one million trees. After two to three growing seasons, the trees are harvested and replanted within towns and cities that have joined in our efforts.

May 2014 we broke ground on our new tree nursery located in Davenport, IA. In the years to come, these trees will be harvested and used to distribute in our MTP!

MillionTrees Project Goals

  • To grow and plant 1 million+ trees
  • Re-establish native, nut-bearing, hardwood trees along waterways and within  communities
  • Provide shelter and a viable food source for wildlife and migratory birds
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Help reduce erosion and run-off
  • Improve water and air quality
  • Create an awareness regarding the value of planting native hardwoods

Thank you all for your continued support! 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I volunteer?

Click here to register for all events!

Tree Harvesting: LL&W Tree Nursery -6000 Eastern Avenue Davenport, IA

Come help us pull 2year old saplings from the ground. Recommended ages 8+. Dress to get (relatively) dirty, and be sure to check the weather before you come out! Come and go as you please, but PLEASE SIGN UP!

Thank you so much for you interest in volunteering to harvest our saplings, but we have reached capacity! Please scroll down to see more volunteer opportunities.

 6000 Eastern Avenue Davenport, IA

Tree Wrapping: East Moline Bus Garage – 2025 Morton Drive East Moline, IL

  • 03/31/17-04/02/17 – 9am-5pm

Come join hundreds of volunteers to wrap the trees we have harvested from our nursery! This process is vital to the trees’ survival throughout the distribution process! This is our most inclusive volunteer event, bringing out volunteers ages 5-105.

The event is indoors; you may come and go as you please, but PLEASE SIGN UP!

Nursery Maintenance:  LL&W Tree Nursery – 6000 Eastern Avenue Davenport, IA

Come out and help us clear our tree beds!

  • 05/13/17
  • 06/17/17
  • 07/15/17

 6000 Eastern Avenue Davenport, IA

Acorn Planting: LL&W Tree Nursery – 6000 Eastern Avenue Davenport, IA

  • 10/28/17

Come plant acorns that will be harvested in 2 years to support our MTP! This event is good for all ages.

Why is this project important?

Over the last 150 years there has been a decline in tree diversity along the shorelines of the Midwest’s mightiest rivers as hardwood trees (such as oaks, hickories, pecan, paw paw, etc.) have been depleted for fuel and building materials, and by flooding and disease. Everyone assumes that there is an abundance of wildlife on the river, but many species have nearly disappeared because of the absence of food as the trees that currently exist on the river have little or no food value for wildlife.

The MillionTrees Project will only plant trees that produce nuts and fruit so that ducks, songbirds, squirrels, wild turkeys, etc. have a viable food source. These strong hardwoods also create a wonderful habitat for wildlife and nesting birds.

The roots of trees act as filters. Especially when planted along waterways, these roots can help reduce the amount of pollution and run-off entering our creeks, rivers, and streams.

Trees grow long and strong roots in order to keep them in place. These same roots also help keep the ground in place and reduce erosion.
Diversifying the current makeup of trees along our shorelines and in our communities increases the opportunities for beneficial wildlife and insects to live. It also helps protect against viruses, bores, etc. that could otherwise deplete an entire forest that’s made up of just one or two species.

Trees also filter the air we breathe. By absorbing carbon, they reduce the impacts of climate change, and the leaves also produce oxygen for us to breathe.

When planted along shorelines and islands, these trees produce shade over our waterways, keeping them cool for aquatic life and reducing the intensity of algae blooms and eutrophication of our waters. They also keep humans and wildlife safe and cool during hot and steamy summers.

Aside from all the health and wildlife benefits, trees are just plain beautiful and increase aesthetics everywhere they are planted.

Perhaps the most important part of this project is the community involvement. Thousands of volunteers annually help LL&W with packaging and planting trees throughout the Midwest. 

How can I request trees?

Thank you for your interest in our MillionTrees Project!!!

Unfortunately, due to a high demand, we are all out of trees!!!

We know it is a bummer, but please email trees@livinglandsandwaters.org to be put on the notification list for next year’s ordering!

Who can I contact to learn more?

For more information about our MillionTrees Project, please contact Monique at trees@livinglandsandwaters.org or 309.732.6101. 

Detailed Species Information/Planting Instructions

We will have  Bur Oak Swamp White Oak and Red Oak

  • 1 ft to 3 ft tall bare root saplings
  • Plant at least 10-20 feet apart; 30 feet from buildings or power lines
  • Tree guards and/or rabbit wire is recommended
  • Please request only as many as you can plant and care for
  • Review tree species info to determine which type to plant

Click here for a downloadable version of our Planting/Care instructions. This year will only be Bur Oak, Swamp White, and Red Oak.

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**Where are they now?**

Were you one of the recipients of the ONE MILLION trees that Living Lands & Waters has given away? Send us an updated photo of how your oak tree is doing, and pass along any words of wisdom for future tree parents! We will feature our entries once a month on the LL&W website and Facebook, as well as send LL&W s swag for each entry! Visit: http://livinglandsandwaters.org/mtp-where-are-they-now/ now to learn more!

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