CHICAGO (CBS) — Starting Friday, big, green tags will be appearing on trees throughout downtown, as part of an effort in this week before Arbor Day to remind people of the benefits of trees.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, about 1,500 trees are being tagged in several areas downtown, including the around City Hall, at Millennium Park, along Michigan Avenue and State, Washington and Monroe streets, and farther north near the Magnificent Mile along Chicago Avenue and Superior Street.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Thousands of other trees are also being tagged over the next few days in seven western suburbs – Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville and Wheaton.

It is part of a program by the Morton Arboretum called “Every Tree Counts.”

The 17-inch-long tags say, “This tree gives back $____ worth of benefits to our environments over the next year,” with the space left blank to specify a dollar amount.

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“It’s not just that they’re pretty, but it’s also very valuable,” said Morton Arboretum vice president of science and conservation Nicole Cavender. “And if you think about it, we have 1.57 million trees in the Chicago area. That’s worth billions of dollars in assets. So we really need to protect them.”

The yearly environmental benefit of each tree is figured based on the type of tree, age and size. The cost benefits include shading of home and offices, reducing the need for cooling energy in the summer, removing carbon dioxide from the air, and catching rainfall that would otherwise flood storm water systems.

Students, Girl Scout troops, civic leaders and community organizations will be tagging the trees, the Arboretum said.

Arbor Day is coming up on Friday, April 27. The holiday was established in 1872 in Nebraska by J. Sterling Morton, who later served as secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland.

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Morton’s daughter, Morton Salt Inc. founder Joy Morton, founded the Morton Arboretum in 1922.