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Let's Plant Trees tackles impacts of spruce budworm, wildfires, and climate change by offering free seedlings, education, and connection

Mar 27, 2024 07:56AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Evaldas Grižas via 

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - March 25, 2024

Carrie and Mike Nicklow, founders of the newly established non-profit Let's Plant Trees, are passionate about giving back to the Cook County community they love. Inspired by the challenges and impacts of the spruce budworm, wildfires, and the climate crisis on local forests, they decided to take action.

Carrie and Mike told Boreal Community Media that in 2023, they ordered 500 seedlings to plant that spring "As our personal effort to help mitigate those issues." However, the couple soon realized that they could expand their impact and efforts by sharing seedlings within their community of friends and neighbors. 

"We received an overwhelmingly positive response to our 2023 seedling giveaway, which led us to start Let's Plant Trees, which is focused on the distribution of tree seedlings projected to do well in a changing climate," they said. 

A Deep Connection to the Cook County, MN & Giving Back

The Nicklows' connection to Cook County runs deep. "As kids, we both spent countless summers and family vacations here," they shared. "We brought our own kids up here for the same experiences, and in 2019, with kids grown and departing for college, we made Lutsen our permanent home."

This spring, Let's Plant Trees has a busy schedule. They'll be attending the Cook County Earth Day Fair, a tree planting workshop at Sugarloaf Cove, and hosting volunteer planting projects in Lutsen, Schroeder, and even the Twin Cities. And, as one may expect, they'll be giving away seedlings. 

"We are giving away thousands of free seedlings this year, in a variety of species including white pine, jack pine, sugar maple, bur oak, and northern red oak. In addition to the tree seedlings, we provide detailed planting instructions to property owners, and encourage them to fence and protect seedlings from predation. We are also collaborating with other groups to promote reforestation in general," the couple said.

While seedlings are free, donations are gratefully accepted to support Let's Plant Trees' ongoing efforts. 

If interested in seedlings, the couple shared that unfortunately at this time, the organization is almost out for the year. However, people are encouraged to follow for updates (links below) if they can get more, or for 2025 orders. 

As if that's not enough, the organization is looking for North Shore businesses and organizations that may be interested in collaborating on planting projects, information sharing, or other ways. "Let's Plant Trees is deeply rooted in Cook County, and we are committed to fostering meaningful partnerships with other groups to address environmental challenges, provide team-building opportunities, and share information.  This has been a great adventure for us so far, and we are excited to grow and promote Let’s Plant Trees, and Cook County, one tree at a time!

To follow Let's Plant Trees, inquire about collaborating, or learn more, email [email protected] or via the website here. Stay up to date on the latest news and projects from Let's Plant Trees via Facebook or Instagram

This article has been updated to note that seedling availability for 2024 is extremely low, however, please continue to follow Let's Plant Trees in the event that the organization can get more, for early ordering for 2024, and additional updates. 

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