Openlands’ TreeKeepers are an ever-growing community of tree ambassadors that care for the Urban Forest in Chicagoland. 

Through the TreeKeeper Course, tree lovers of all ages and backgrounds gain accessible training and education that certify them as an official TreeKeeper. The month-long course gives students an appreciation for trees in our region through learning about urban forestry in the age of climate change and best practices in tree planting and care to build a more resilient urban forest. 

After completing the program, they are certified to care for, protect, and plant trees with Openlands. Through the TreeKeepers community, TreeKeepers can volunteer for and lead tree planting events, participate in or organize their own pruning days, and take part in continuing education and advocacy programs. Many become leaders in their neighborhood advocating for trees and the environment and supporting other community-driven efforts throughout the region. No matter your engagement level, TreeKeeper stewardship is a flexible and accessible way to give back to nature and your community and to make our region more resilient in the face of climate change. 

For 30 years, over 2,000 TreeKeepers and counting have been the eyes and ears on the ground identifying potential tree-related problems and leading neighbors in protecting our urban forest. TreeKeepers always strive to support the work of local forestry officials, such as the Chicago Bureau of Forestry, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Registration for the Spring TreeKeepers Course is now closed. To learn when registration opens for future TreeKeepers Courses, please fill out this form.

Sign Up for the TreeKeepers Course

The TreeKeepers certification program, which Openlands began in 1991, has trained nearly 2,000 volunteers to conserve, protect, and advocate for the region’s urban forest.

TreeKeeper Chapters

Openlands TreeKeeper Chapters are dedicated groups of TreeKeepers organized around a specific area – a neighborhood, ward, town, or park.