SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Schools statewide are receiving 5,000 tree seedlings from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

IDOT officials say the "Trees to Schools" initiative honors Earth Day, which is Monday. Trees are provided by the East Moline-based nature-preservation group Living Lands and Waters .

The program helps offset the loss of trees that are removed or otherwise affected by IDOT construction and maintenance work.

Each of IDOT's nine highway districts will receive 550 trees to distribute to local schools. Schools use the trees on their grounds or give them to students as a learning opportunity.

Officials say one tree produces as much oxygen in a single season as ten people do in a year. Trees reduce erosion, filter chemicals, produce shade and provide habitat and food for birds and other wildlife.

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