CHICAGO (WLS) --Thousands of volunteers across Chicago cleaned up public spaces and planted trees Saturday in honor of Earth Day.
At more than 100 sites, including public parks, forest preserves and open spaces, groups teamed up with the Chicago Park District and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and other agencies to help beautify spaces.
The annual tradition was started by the Friends of the Park.
"This is their park, a park from them, they come around and they have some stake in it, not just visiting and looking at it from a distance, but have some ownership," said Jerome Scott, of the park district of a space in Humboldt Park.
Workers felt that ownership by getting their hands dirty and helping make change. Volunteers said they felt an overwhelming sense of connection and pride.
"Let's help Mother Earth and protect Mother Earth, love Mother Earth, and this is our home it's more than a home it's a living being," said volunteer Francisco Araujo.
And to some, the day was more meaningful as some trees are planted in honor of someone they love.
A tree in Humboldt Park was planted in memory of Nancy Maldonado, the late wife of Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward) who passed away last December after battling cancer.
"She was a special lover of trees and I think this tree is a representative of her," said Francisco Rosas.