Earth Day in Auburn Park

Nearly 200 participants posed for a photo opt in Auburn Gresham's 2009 Earth Day led by the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC).

Ernest Sanders

Over one hundred and twenty students made a big difference at the 2nd Annual Auburn Gresham Earth Day celebration in the Winneconna Park area. With their selfless contributions, local students and community leaders removed trash, picked up recyclables, raked leaves and spread mulch around the trees surrounding the lagoon.  

Carlos Nelson, Executive Director of The Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), opened by welcoming students, residents, and community partners to Auburn Gresham Earth Day and Resource Fair. 

Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church encourages students about the importance of Earth Day and their safety in the City of Chicago.

Ernest Sanders

Sponsored by GADC, Auburn Gresham’s Earth Day was the recipient of a native Illinois White Oak tree (provided by Chicago Greencorps). The tree was planted as a Tree of Life commemorating the 34 Chicago Public Schools students who have lost their lives to gun violence since the school year 2009. 34 green ribbons were tied onto the branches, representing each student. 

An even greater impact was developed when students were encouraged by Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina church to take ownership of their lives and remain focused on their safety.  Alderman Latasha Thomas also spoke of the importance of students safety and aspects of a clean community, especically in the Mighty 17th Ward.

Although the day began crisp and cool, the enthusiasm of every participant created a warm spirit and positive impact, making them environmentally aware and instilling community pride. This day invited such an aura of commitment that reasonated amongst these community partners.

Carlos Nelson (R) leads several Auburn Gresham Earth Day participant in a ribbon ceremony commemorating 34 CPS students who lost their lives to gun violence.

Ernest Sanders

Those who participated include: Alamp, Cleanslate, Perspectives-Calumet Charter School, Simeon Career AcademyBetty Shabazz International Charter SchoolCity to Farm, Full Life Safety Center, I-GO Car Sharing, Lowes, Mount Hermon Church, The Shedd Aquarium, The Center for Neighborhood Technology, The Faith Community of St. Sabina, The Office of Alderman Latasha Thomas (D-17), and following the City of Chicago's departments: 1) Streets and Sanitation (to include Forestry), 2) Environment (to include Chicago Greencorps), and Community Alternative Policing Strategy (C.A.P.S). 

Participants were treated to organic produce provided by Whole Foods and other delectables from Dunken Donuts, McDonalds, Subway, Walgreens, and White Castle. The Shedd Aquarium distributed free family passes for all participants. I-Go Car Sharing displayed a Toyota hybrid car to show the importance of car sharing, a wonderful option to owning a car. The Department of Environment had a rain barrel demonstration and passed out Lo-Flow water fixtures (aerators) which reduce faucet consumption by 75 percent. City to Farm also shared their fresh farm basket program where people can get farm fresh vegetables delivered to them at affordable prices. Alamp and Full Life Safety Center donated several safety vest for students to wear while cleaning. 

Several students help to spread mulch around a tree within the Winneconna Lakes area.

Ernest Sanders

"As part of GADC's Litter Free Zone Initiative (LFZI) and commitment to beautify our neighborhoods, Earth Day is every day in Auburn Gresham.  The community must continue to come together in mass, to change their surroundings and create beauty in their environment.  As we reduce, reuse and recycle, we also remember to renew the earth for everyone’s future," said Nelson.

For more information about the LFZI, please called the GADC offices at (773) 483-3696.

Also, please click here to read another great summary of Auburn Gresham's Earth Day from our community partners at Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Chicago (LISC/Chicago).