Chicago high school students, conservation group plant trees in much-needed Southwest Side

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 get more trees out in the neighborhood because it makes it look more friendly and green," said Lena Wu, a sophomore at Thomas Kelly College Prep.

An organization called Openlands helped the students from the school add some much needed trees to the city's Southwest Side.

"There is a really high burden of pollution on the Southwest Side so that there's really high population density, coupled with a lot of polluting industries," said Openlands community arborist Tom Ebeling.

The Chicago-based conservation nonprofit began planting trees in the area six years. The trees being planted now go through the same type of evolution and growth. The group said it hopes the trees will have all bloomed in about three years.

"When you plant the tree with your own hands, it really makes you feel like close knit to your community," said sophomore Helen Lopez.

The students gain the environmental knowledge by helping with the entire planting process. And an added benefit is the special relationships built along the way.

"My favorite part through this would be working with my friends, working with everyone here, trying our best to make a positive change in our community," said sophomore Rachel Tweddle.
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