A shining example of corporate citizenship has come to the attention of this columnist. It is my distinct pleasure to offer “green thumb” recognition to Chicago’s A. Finkl & Sons Co. for their tree planting and reforestation program “Forging a Fresher America.”

Established in 1989, the goal of “Forging a Fresher America” is to plant enough trees to absorb the carbon dioxide emitted from the company’s Chicago tool-steel manufacturing facilities. To accomplish this, Finkl to date has planted more than 6,000,000 trees in protected forests in Illinois and Wisconsin with an eventual goal of 10,000,000 trees.

The trees planted under the Finkl initiative in state forests to the west and south of Lake Michigan include both evergreen (e.g., jack pine, red pine) and deciduous varieties (e.g., oak, ash, cherry, walnut, pecan, plum, hickory). In addition to the mass plantings organized and funded by the corporation, Finkl also encourages and facilitates the planting of trees by individual employees. Every year, each of the more than 500 Finkl employees is offered one ash, pear, linden or crabapple sapling at no cost, as long as they agree to plant it promptly.

Besides all the carbon offsetting, there are many side benefits to planting trees. They provide shade, reduce noise, shelter wildlife and beautify the environment. What a fine example of environmental stewardship by a member of our industrial heating family. What a fantastic win-win solution for present and future generations of Americans!