Scientific Staff

Lydia Scott, MS

Director, Chicago Region Trees Initiative

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As Director of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), Lydia Scott employs a wide-range of methods to improve urban forest health and increase environmental equity across the Chicago region.

Under Lydia’s direction, CRTI launched its Master Plan for the urban forest in the Chicago region in 2019. The plan—which took three years to develop—is premised on four key goals: to inspire people to value trees; to improve the region’s tree canopy; to reduce threats to trees; and to enhance oak ecosystems. To actualize these goals, Lydia focuses on engaging the public and providing resources to help people develop a clearer understanding of the value of the urban forest, so that adequate human and monetary resources may be allocated.

Lydia works with diverse sectors of the Chicago region, leading staff and volunteers from The Morton Arboretum, along with 14 Executive Advisory Council members, diverse communities, and numerous organizations to address issues such as forest composition, equity, and climate change in order to improve the health, diversity, and canopy cover of the regional urban forest.

The development and functioning of the Chicago Region Trees (CRTI) is a major accomplishment. CRTI has provided direct education and outreach to more than 300 communities across the seven-county Chicago region. It has also provided training to more than 400 individuals in basic forestry practices and engaged as many in a mentoring network. CRTI has collected the largest urban forestry data set in the country through its Tree Census Project.


MS, Natural Resources and Environmental Science

University of Illinois
Champaign, IL

  • Board Member, Illinois Forestry Development Council
  • Fellow, Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum
  • Education Committee Member, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association