Melissa Custic coordinates CRTI—a collaboration of more than 200 regional partners working together to improve the health and diversity of trees in the seven-county Chicago region.
As coordinator of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), Melissa works closely with colleagues of partner institutions to increase canopy cover, reduce the presence of invasive species, and increase the preservation of oak ecosystems in the Chicago region. She has developed several resources and training programs aimed at improving tree selection, planting, and care, as well as some targeting buckthorn removal.
Melissa currently coordinates the six working groups of CRTI and keeps them working collaboratively towards the Arboretum’s goal of a healthier, more diverse urban forest by 2050. Her professional interests include urban forestry, urban ecology, environmental justice, tree care, climate change, and soil ecology.