Starhill Forest began with three maple seeds planted in Guy’s childhood sandbox in 1952 in Blue Island, Illinois. One of the resulting seedlings was planted by his father in the front yard of that house and is still there today. His first visit to the Morton Arboretum, in the late 1950s, then awakened in him the realization that tree study could be science as well as fun. The die was cast.
Edie grew up in a rural setting and became fascinated with all things nature, especially birds. Together, they began Starhill on a beautiful and diverse 20-acre rural tract they bought in 1976, the spring after they were married. The land centers upon a hill elevated 80 feet above the bottom of Rock Creek, with a few old (Civil War era) trees and substantial slopes and valleys.
The name for this venture was a natural. They stood on top of the hill one evening, looking at stars. Since their name (Sternberg) translates from German to “star mountain”, it was the perfect descriptive name derivation
Thirteen years later, in 1989, five more acres became available to the south, and an expansion opportunity was completed. Then in another 13 years, further expansion to the south was done. Finally, in another 13 years, the inholding now called Catalpa House (with its state champion catalpa tree) was acquired. In all, the arboretum now comprises an even 50 acres with seven buildings, three ponds, numerous trail structures, and thousands of trees representing many hundreds of species.