100 students and teachers from the southeast side of Chicago celebrated National Public Lands Day on September 24, by helping to restore wetland ecosystems at the Indiana Dunes National Park.
Students from Washington, Morgan Park, Harlan, Bowen, and Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences boarded buses early in the morning in order to learn more about intact ecosystems at the Indiana Dunes, the importance of biodiversity, and then pitched in by planting native plant species in a wetland bog, cutting back invasive species, and learning the craft of environmental interpretation.
Following a morning of hard work, students were rewarded for their labors with a picnic lunch and trip to Mt. Baldy, a immense sand dune with views of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The dunes provided a good respite in nature for our high school students and the breath-taking views of Lake Michigan and its lake shore were memorable.
These students will now return to the Lake Calumet region of Chicago to restore and maintain their own more natural areas through the Calumet Is My BackYard program. Each high school group will continue to learn about environmental science in the classroom then put their knowledge to work restoring prairie and wetland areas throughout the southeast side of Chicago.