Little Village embraces Arbor Day with special tree planting event

Arborists planted tree No. 10,000 in the Little Village neighborhood to celebrate Arbor Day.

The milestone tree was provided by Openlands, protectors of nature in northeastern Illinois.

The Catalpa tree is a hearty variety, chosen to make it through Chicago’s harshest conditions. They put locally sourced cactus leaves in the ground to provide moisture, nutrients and to help it take root on the corner at 28th Street and Ridgeway Avenue.

The soil here reveals the land was once an abandoned house, then a rocky, vacant lot.  

Openlands nurtured it from blight into beauty, a community where things and people grow.

"I’ve been with Openlands helping planting trees since 2020 so it's great to see the trees that I helped plant, the trees that I helped organize and seeing them thrive. It makes me feel warm inside and makes me realize that I’m making a difference in the community," Tonatiu Rodriguez said.

Chicago's Deputy Mayor for Community Safety Garrien Gateway said outdoor activities are the mark of a healthy community.

"In Chicago, nature is one of the ultimate healers. Being outside is always fun. We love to hear kids running and playing and if that’s not a true sign of safety, what is?" Gateway asked.

The 10,000th tree represents more than 10,000 people who planted them and the future health benefits and inspiration it will provide.