Students volunteer, plant trees at NC

NC partners with Morton Arboretum to plant more native trees, help ecosystem


Aimee Rounds ’22 poses in a T-shirt made to fund the tree planting and pollinator garden (photo courtesy of Patrick Page).

Grace Moore, Opinions Editor

The Morton Arboretum is celebrating its 100-year anniversary by setting out to plant 1,000 trees. The arboretum, located in west suburban Lisle, promotes the planting of trees for environmental benefits such as stopping urban heat traps and promoting native plants. LT wanted to partner with The Morton Arboretum to help them reach their goal, art teacher Patrick Page said. 

NC Associate Principal Kevin Brown connected with the arboretum to offer the help of students at LT. Brown was able to get in contact with The Morton Arboretum through the Chicago Regional Tree Initiative, which is a group that focuses on giving out native trees to local community groups and schools, Page said. 

“We have a wonderful opportunity through The Morton Arboretum to help them reach their 1,000 trees for their centennial,” Sustainability club sponsor Michelle Wrona said.

Brown contacted Wrona to get students on the ground to help fulfill LT’s new pledge. Over 80 students expressed interest. 

The sponsors planned on having those interested sign up in teams of four to five, Page said. Students could  sign their family members up to help as well. Once people signed up there was an online waiver that had to be filled out in order to participate. 

On May 14, with the help of those students, their families, and Sustainability club, 24 trees were planted at NC and 24 at SC, for a total of 48 new trees on LT’s campus.The exact location of these trees is currently being handled by Page and the administration. The trees are native to Northern Illinois and include species like the  Bald Cypress, Kindred Spirit Oaks, Common Hackberries, Triumph Elms, Persimmons, and Chinkapin Oaks. All of these create a better habitat for the local ecosystem, Page said. 

“I think this is going to be a good demonstration, because I’ve been doing this in my home and the amount of wildlife I’ve seen has been crazy,” Page said. “I think the goal of this is to bring that to LT.”

Those who planted the trees are also responsible for maintenance of the trees, Wrona said. 

The administration and the buildings and ground also helped to figure out the logistics of the tree planting.

“It is worth the work because we are at a point now where we’re undergoing the sixth extinction in the world, because people [take up so much space], that we’re interfering with native landscapes,” Page said.  

LT has already started this mission by creating a small pollinator garden outside of NC room L42 that coincided with the tree planting. More information on this garden can be found through the @ltpollinators Instagram page. 

“We really want to make this transformative,” Page said. “We really want to change our curriculum and gear it to make this a practical teaching garden.” 

Sustainability club’s goal in the end is to have a teachable garden in which students can get some outdoor time, while also being able to see the impact on the nature surrounding the new native plants, Page said. 

“I feel like it’s just a fantastic opportunity for [LT] to make a difference with climate change,” Wrona said. “[It’s helpful] for us to get these tree species that are going to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, while giving us a higher quality of life through air quality improvement.”