|Bruce and Anne Hunt, Mari Monroy, Cesar Espinoza|
Congratulations to Anne Hunt, Bruce Hunt, Janice Ryan and all the members of the “St. Ben’s Buds” who work on Saturdays to make our area look so great. The award recognizes that in caring for our landscape, we contribute a significant commitment to our neighborhood and to the whole city. Gardens and other green spaces help improve air quality, utilize rainwater and make Chicago a beautiful place in which to live.
Ingenuity, design, volunteer effort and use earned a First Place Mayor’s Landscape Award for St. Benedict Parish and Schools, 2215 W. Irving Park. On Saturday, December 3, the winners of the 55th year’s competition were honored at a ceremony and received plaques from Karen Weigert, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer. The 1st place award to St. Benedict is in the schools category, in one of three regions in the city.
The gardens are adjacent to St. Ben’s preschool, elementary and high schools. Students of all ages come to the gardens for hands-on interaction with the green space. Eighth graders raise money for a class trip by selling bulbs, which they plant along Bell Avenue. Scout troops plant lilac trees, nasturtium seeds and the bulbs from Easter lilies used in the church. Students earn service points when they join regular members of the St. Ben’s Buds garden club to weed, trim, rake and spread mulch. Teaching children to love the earth is a part of the curriculum. How fortunate to have classrooms surrounded by green, growing plants and trees!
The “St. Ben’s Buds” take advantage of plant swaps organized by the Northcenter Neighborhood Association Garden Club and Greencorps Chicago, as well as divided plants from parishioners’ gardens. Annuals from the 47th Ward and the Chamber of Commerce also enhanced the beds this season.