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The Mechanics
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Chicago Public Schools Wed Oct 22 2014

Openlands Builds Green Space for Chicago Public Schools


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at McPherson Elementary School. Photo courtesy of Openlands

Openlands, one of the oldest metropolitan conservation organizations in the nation, celebrated its continued effort to green Chicago Public Schools with the opening of its latest school garden in Ravenswood on Friday.

A dedication ceremony at McPherson Elementary School, 4728 N. Wolcott Avenue, brought together students and teachers, as well as local school and government officials together to celebrate the garden's installation. Speakers included Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th), Bill Clarkin of BMO Harris Bank (lead sponsor), Jerry Adelmann of Openlands, Senator Heather Steans, Principal Carmen Mendoza and Bob Farster of the Local School Council.


Alderman Ameya Pawar. Photo courtesy of Openlands.

Over the past seven years, Openlands has worked to transform Chicago's paved schoolyards into living classrooms that provide open green space with the "Building School Gardens" program. Openlands' has installed 54 gardens to date on Chicago Public School campuses across the city.

McPherson Elementary School's garden is part of a master plan created by Principal Carmen Mendoza, Alderman Ameya Pawar, Friends of McPherson, and Openlands. The garden includes beds with native plants, an outdoor classroom and stage, pathways, and a memorial garden. The master plan includes new playground areas, raised beds for growing fruits and vegetables, and plantings that surround the school.

Three more gardens are set to open this week at Schmidt Elementary (East Pullman), Grissom Elementary (Hegewisch) and Leland Elementary (Austin).

 
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