Local high school honored by UN for community garden

A local high school is being recognized by the United Nations for its work to transform a plain patch of grass into a beautiful garden filled with native trees and species. 

One of the key people behind this project was Kevin O'Toole, who is a biology teacher at J. Sterling Morton High School.

O'Toole said a few different things sparked this project.

"There is a big decline in monarch butterflies and lack of green space in the Cicero community," said O'Toole. "The students are very concerned about environmental issues, so I wanted to show that they can actually transform their local communities."

The project started in 2017 when students built a garden filled with monarch butterflies. From there, the garden grew bigger each year, and it now covers 10,000 square feet.


This year, the current students plan to plant over 25 trees in the garden.

O'Toole says this is a "pay it forward" project.

"The goal all along was to get the community involved," said O'Toole.

It has gone beyond the community and now, the United Nations is going to honor this project.

O'Toole says the United Nations wanted to use this project as an example of how students are going outside the classroom to learn.