City leaders take to Chicago parks, open spaces to volunteer for Earth Day

Earth Day activities were held across the Chicago area on Saturday and the mission for a lot of groups is a simple one.

"Bringing together volunteers from across the community for a day to celebrate this fine earth that we have and to make it a better place," said Joshua Harris, Director of Community Engagement at the Obama Foundation.

The Obama foundation hosted its second annual post-pandemic clean-up on Chicago's South Side. Volunteers worked at Washington Park, Jackson Park and Rainbow Beach.

The goal is to influence neighbors to keep up the Earth Day vibes throughout the entire year.


Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson visited city parks on this Earth Day where he joined volunteers cleaning up Columbus Park in the Austin neighborhood.

Johnson said Chicago's parks are key in building our city's safety and nurturing young people.

"We're going to roll up our sleeves, we're going to do the hard work to make sure that just not a beautiful city exists, but a better stronger safer city exists," Johnson said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot spent the day helping to clean-up vacant lots across the Chicago.

She joined other city leaders and volunteers for the annual Clean & Green Day of Service.

Vacant lots were just one of the projects getting attention on Saturday. Others included planting trees and gardens at open spaces across Chicago.

"We encourage everyone not just on Earth Day but every day to really be thinking about the part that they can play in preserving our environment and fighting against the dangerous effects of climate change," Lightfoot said.

Climate change is one of the reasons behind Brookfield Zoo's Earth Day celebrations.

A Party for the Planet recycling event and Earth Day Run were held to encourage families to make a positive difference for wildlife and the natural world.

Volunteers collected items like electronics, textiles, and used books for recycling Saturday at the zoo's main parking lot.

A tree was also planted along the zoo's south mall to commemorate the holiday.