Wood sculptor looks to restore dead trees’ beauty to Chicago

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CHICAGO -- The whirl of a chainsaw has shaped Jim Long’s world for more than 20 years.

He began with small sculptures; he then went on to big intricate sculptures -- anything his imagination and his subject could conjure up.

Today Long is pouring his concentration into an old, dead ash tree in Nichols Park in the Hyde Park neighborhood, one of two in the park he is taking back for the city, which is losing tens of thousands of threes to the dreaded emerald ash borer, a beetle that kills ash trees.

In the next few years, Chicago stands to lose 120,000 trees. But while they may be gone from the parks, they will still help keep the city beautiful.

Jim expects his latest sculpture, a wolf, to be finished in two or three weeks.