The tags, 40 in total, were the handiwork of Aga Jarzabek’18 and Catherine Krol’17, who priced the trees to promote their intrinsic value and prepare residents for a tree planting initiative they were launching.
The two started a non-profit organization called “Trees for Beloit,” to plant trees in public spaces where the canopy has thinned. Jarzabek, a business economics and Russian double major, says a simple idea for a tree-planting event turned into a business overnight.
“We had to register as a non-profit to have a business account to accept donations from businesses and individuals,” she says.
Krol, an international political economy major, had completed an internship in the city of Beloit’s Public Works Department. That connection helped make a partnership possible at a time when the urban forest has been shrinking because of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that kills native ash trees. Krol and Jarzabek say that the city has lost more than 128 trees since 2015, including 35 in the city’s Summit Park alone.
Through a Duffy Community Partnership and in collaboration with Visit Beloit, the city’s convention and visitor’s organization, Jarzabek and Krol raised funds and organized volunteers to plant 11 trees in the city’s Summit Park last fall. They have funding to plant at least nine more in the spring and continue to seek funding for another 10 trees before they wrap up the project.