Suburbanites mark Earth Day by planting in nature preserve, cleaning up park

Volunteers celebrated Earth Day on Thursday by installing native plants in a Barrington nature preserve and cleaning up a park in Warrenville.

About 40 people, including 10 members of Brownie Troop 2370, gathered Thursday to plant St. John's wort and other native plants in the Pederson Nature Preserve.

The 5.6-acre parcel across from Barrington High School was purchased by the Barrington Area Conservation Trust with funds donated by Frederica Smith Pederson, whose late husband, Keith Pederson, was a distinguished Barrington resident. The property is named after him.

Since the conservation trust formed in 2001, its mission has been to conserve open spaces and the rural character of Barrington communities. In 20 years, the trust has saved 520 acres of land, formed five nature preserves, installed 52 monarch butterfly pollinator gardens and planted 110 oak trees, its members say.

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At Warrenville's Summerlakes Park, Adam Dagley, the park district's fitness and environmental education supervisor, talked about the importance of recycling before a group picked up trash.

“As a whole, we really try to encourage kids and adults to take ownership over their community,” Dagley said, “how clean it is, how it looks.”

He said it's important for residents to clean up after themselves to help with the environment. Beyond Earth Day programs, the park district works with volunteers once a month to restore and enhance the wetlands at Summerlakes Park.

Warrenville resident Neil Amedeo participated in the event with his 4-year-old daughter, Ayla.

“We're out here to help her learn that it's important to care of what we have,” Amedeo said. ”We want it to be here for future generations.”

At the end of Thursday's program, the kids planted basil, carrots and peppers from seed in take-home egg cartons. The children were allowed to keep the hand trowels used for the planting, a gift from the park district.

  Brittany Nelson of Warrenville picks up trash with her 2-year-old son, Abel, Thursday during an Earth Day event at Summerlakes Park in Warrenville. Participants also learned about the importance of recycling and planted herbs and vegetables to take home. Paul Valade/
  Volunteers plant native plants like St. John's wort to celebrate Earth Day on Thursday at Pederson Preserve in Barrington. John Starks/
  About 40 people turned out Thursday, including 10 members of a local Brownie troop, to plant native plants like St. John's wort for Earth Day at Pederson Preserve in Barrington. John Starks/
  Earth Day was celebrated Thursday at Pederson Preserve in Barrington by volunteers who planted native plants like St. John's wort. John Starks/
  Second-graders from Brownie Troop 2370 in Barrington arrive to plant native plants for Earth Day at Pederson Preserve in Barrington Thursday. John Starks/
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