Chicago high school students and conversation group are planting trees in the Southwest if needed

CHICAGO (WLS) — A group of Chicago high school students made a difference Saturday by planting trees near Brighton Park to create a better environment for years to come.

“I think it’s important to have more trees in the neighborhood because it makes it friendlier and greener,” said Lena Wu, a sophomore at Thomas Kelly College Prep.

An organization called Openlands has helped students at the school add much-needed trees to the southwest side of town.

“There’s a very high pollution load on the southwest side, so there’s a very high population density, coupled with a lot of polluting industries,” said Tom Ebeling, a community arborist. Openlands.

The Chicago-based nonprofit conservation organization began planting trees in the area six years ago. Planted trees are now experiencing the same type of evolution and growth. The group said it hopes the trees will all be in bloom in about three years.

“When you plant the tree with your own hands, you feel really connected to your community,” said sophomore Helen Lopez.

Students gain environmental knowledge by assisting with the entire planting process. And an added benefit is the privileged relationships built along the way.

“My favorite part through this would be working with my friends, working with everyone here, doing our best to bring about positive change in our community,” said sophomore Rachel Tweedle.

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