Press Releases

For Immediate Release - Openlands Celebrates Greening Chicago Public Schools

June 6, 2014


CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes

(Media inquiries only)


(Chicago – June 6, 2014) Openlands celebrates newly constructed Chicago Public Schools gardens through its Building School Gardens program. For seven years, Openlands has worked to transform schools across Chicago to be gateways to nature, supporting teachers, parents, and the surrounding community with opportunities for students to learn outside and engage with nature.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at Alexander Fleming Elementary, 4918 West 64th Street, Chicago, on June 9 at 2pm. Local officials, school officials, and students will be on hand for the festivities.

One of only a few like it in the country, Openlands’ Building School Gardensprogram aims to transform school campuses from concrete deserts to green open spaces—free for everyone to enjoy. Since the program was launched in 2007, Openlands has installed gardens at 56 schools. BMO Harris Bank is the Principal Sponsor of the program. For more information on Building School Gardens, to be supporter of the program, or to register a school, visit

“Chicago students are the future stewards of our region’s natural resources,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “Connecting children to nature on a daily basis through gardens and green space at their schools both enriches their lives by inspiring a love of the natural world. We are grateful to our partners for the support that has made the installation of nearly 60 gardens possible.”

Alexander Fleming Elementary’s garden was installed in fall 2012 with students planting over 450 perennials. The garden provides a habitat for butterflies, incorporates raised beds to grow fruits and vegetables, and provides seating so that the space is used as an extension of the classroom. The garden area flows into the playground area to increase space and opportunities for students during recess. The garden also provides shade by incorporating a mixture of trees. Since the installation, the school community has sustained the garden and added a variety of art components. Last spring, mosaics were attached to the raised garden beds, and this year the students created and installed a mural.

About Openlands

Founded in 1963, Openlands is one of the nation’s oldest and most successful metropolitan conservation organizations, having helped secure, protect, and provide public access to more than 55,000 acres of land for parks, forest preserves, national wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, and urban gardens. For more information, visit

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge, and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris BankSM is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and approximately $542 billion in assets (as of Jan. 31, 2013).

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