Lester Community Playground plants 16 new trees, thanks to local partnership

Lester Community Playground plants 16 new trees, thanks to local partnership

The Lester Community Playground organization recently partnered with the Dream Build Play Experience, the Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI) to plant 16 new trees around the new Lester playgrounds! This tree planting program was funded by donors working with the Arboretum and CRTI.

Eleven Lester families helped plant the trees, which were about 5-8 years old.

“These trees are no longer seedlings and have a better chance of establishing and thriving due to the additional years in the nursery,” said Peg Chaidez, a District 58 parent and co-founder of the Dream Build Play Experience, a local non-profit that helped Lester and Hillcrest schools build inclusive playgrounds.

The Morton Arboretum and CRTI visited Lester and worked with District 58 Director of Buildings and Grounds Kevin Barto to select specific trees best suited to the property’s climate, space, soil characteristics and human interactions. They recommended Lester plant native species, such as Bur Oak, Princeton Elm, Chinkapin Oak, Northern Red Oak, Shingle Oak and Bald Cypress.  

The newly planted trees have all been recorded through the Morton Arboretum Canopy Counts program using the free Curio-xyz tree recording app. Families can download the Curio XYZ app and visit their online world map to see the Lester trees. You can also see the trees by searching for Lester Elementary on the app.

“The event provided an opportunity for our community to beautify the Lester grounds while making an impact in our environment for years to come,” Chaidez said. “Participants also learned many green thumb techniques, such as proper depth and width to dig per tree, tree stabilizing strategizes and watering requirements. Lester families have generously adopted the newly planted trees to ensure they are provided sufficient watering and love throughout the warm summer months.”

To learn more about this project’s partners, please visit the following pages: