Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority pose for a photo next to the first tree they planted in the Flossmoor Hills/Highlands neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 15, during Plant the Gem. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)
Local News

Flossmoor’s Plant the Gem event named Governor’s Hometown Award finalist

Plant the Gem, a community-wide tree-planting event held last October in Flossmoor has been named one of four finalists for the Governor’s Cup in the 2023 Governor’s Hometown Awards program. 

A team from Flossmoor will head to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield to present for the judges’ panel on Wednesday, Aug. 16. 

The final award winner will be announced the same day. 

Plant the Gem was a one-day event held in partnership with the Flossmoor Green Commission, the Hidden Gem Half-Marathon and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative. More than 250 volunteers of all ages and abilities joined together to plant more than 300 trees in parkways and parks in Flossmoor. 

Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority pose for a photo next to the first tree they planted in the Flossmoor Hills/Highlands neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 15, during Plant the Gem. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)
Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority pose for a photo next to the first tree they planted in the Flossmoor Hills/Highlands neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 15, during Plant the Gem. (Bill Jones/H-F Chronicle)

Volunteer teams included village residents, nature enthusiasts, local organizations and staff and students from area schools. Twelve different tree varieties that are native to the region were planted with help from $30,000 in federal funds, made available to the Chicago Region Trees Initiative through the support of U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove.

The event grew out of the village’s initiative to ensure a healthy tree canopy for the tree-lined, nearly century-old Chicago suburb.

“Flossmoor residents and supporters aren’t afraid to get dirty,” Mayor Michelle Nelson said. “We work together on a variety of projects year-round that enhance our community and region. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that our efforts are making a positive impact that will benefit people for generations to come.”

Presented continuously from 1983 to 2014 and then from 2017 to present, the Governor’s Hometown Awards program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life. These projects are sponsored by local units of government that had strong volunteer support, met a need and made a definitive impact, thereby generating a positive outcome in the community and by extension, the state. 

The program is administered by the Serve Illinois Commission, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. Flossmoor was a finalist for the award also in 2020 for its Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event.

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