Welcome to Waters Garden

In 1991, Waters School’s grounds were barren: solid asphalt for nearly an entire city block. But encased in the pavement at the south end of the lot were four colossal bur oak trees that predate the city of Chicago’s founding. Inspired by the grandfather oaks, the community—students, parents, teachers, and neighbors—steadily began chipping away at the asphalt and planting gardens in its place.

After more than 30 years of hard restoration and stewardship work, Waters Garden now boasts more than 150 species of native plants and dozens of vegetable beds tended by students and community members. We stand in awe of the space created by our community and Mother Earth, an oasis in the middle of a bustling city neighborhood filled with berries, peace, beauty, friendship, and joy.

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