LIBERTYVILLE – The Lake County Forest Preserves recently gave its General Offices and the Dunn Museum in Libertyville a landscaping makeover, thanks to a longtime supporter.
Valent BioSciences, which has its headquarters and Biorational Research Center in Libertyville, recently donated $15,000 to cover the cost of removing Callery pear trees, an invasive species, at the General Offices, 1899 W. Winchester Road. Native trees, such as oak and hickory, replaced the invasives.
With its strong global presence, Valent BioSciences is a worldwide leader in the development, commercialization and manufacturing of biorational products and technologies used in the agriculture, public health and forestry markets.
Valent BioSciences made the contribution to the Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Lake County Forest Preserves. The removal of the trees, also found in the preserves, is consistent with the Forest Preserves’ countywide natural resource management strategies.
”We are grateful for Valent BioSciences’ support as we work to remove this invasive species from our corporate campus, a key objective in the Forest Preserves’ 100-year Vision for Lake County,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “Restoration is core to our mission and we want to lead by example in replacing these trees. We hope to educate and inspire other corporations to understand the threat of Callery pear to Lake County’s natural lands and remove it from their corporate campuses.”
”Both of our organizations have much in common from an environmental perspective,” said Salman Mir, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Valent BioSciences. “Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond Libertyville. We are restoring 34 acres of highly diverse native prairie adjacent to our manufacturing facility in Osage, Iowa. In addition, we are installing a solar field that will provide 8% of the plant’s annual energy.”
The Callery pear, also known as Bradford pear, is an invasive ornamental tree introduced to the region for landscaping purposes from eastern Asia. While the original cultivars were bred to be sterile, cross-pollination has resulted in viable seeds.
Birds readily eat the plant’s fruits, which resemble small apples, and disperse the seeds in their droppings. Unfortunately, Callery pear has spread aggressively and invaded many habitats, including natural areas.
The invasive trees at the General Offices have been replaced with native shrubs and trees, including oaks. Oak are a keystone species in the Chicago area. Hundreds of species of birds, insects, butterflies, mammals and other plants depend on them for shelter, nutrients, camouflage and reproduction.