Let’s Move! Outside Chicago Helps Hampton Elementary Restore Marquette Park

March 08, 2017


Students in a YMCA after school program at Hampton Elementary learn about native species from their local parks and make seed balls from dirt compost. "

On February 28, 2017, students attending Lionel Hampton Elementary School—a YMCA Community Schools Initiative partner—participated in a learning activity during their after school enrichment program led by the Chicago Park District. Over 40 youth, grades third through eighth, learned about native plant species at their local park, and later made seed balls to plant at Marquette Park in the spring.

Students started their afternoon listening to a brief overview of ways to protect public lands and natural areas in their own community. Later, students were divided into three groups and rotated every 30 minutes to three different stations which included a partner drawing game, a native species identification table and seed ball building station. Forrest Cortes of the Chicago Park District taught students about the dozens of species a single seed ball contained. The students enjoyed getting their hands dirty as they identified the various seeds in the plant mix and used the dirt compost to build seed balls.

At the end of the learning activity, students gathered back as a group and recapped their favorite moments from the activity. Students were excited to hear they will be planting their seed balls in the spring and enjoyed the afternoon learning ways to contribute to their local park. As a continuation of the Let’s Move! Outside learning activity with the Chicago Park District, the seed balls will be planted in Marquette Park on Earth Day Weekend by Lionel Hampton Elementary students.

For the full album of the learning activity at Hampton Elementary, like Let’s Move! Outside on Facebook! Stay tuned for more updates of the spring planting day!