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DePaul's Garden Inspires Teens to Pursue Sustainable Career Paths

By Paul Biasco | August 13, 2014 8:29am
 Katelynn Davis and Larry Rogers, Green Teens from Gary Comer Youth Center, examine plants in the DePaul Urban Garden Monday.
Katelynn Davis and Larry Rogers, Green Teens from Gary Comer Youth Center, examine plants in the DePaul Urban Garden Monday.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LINCOLN PARK — The Green Teens of the Greater Grand Crossing's Gary Comer Youth Center know their way around a garden.

The youth center is home to an 8,000-square-foot rooftop garden where students pull weeds, water plants and harvest crops while learning the ins and outs of agriculture.

On Monday about 35 of the Green Teens made the trip to DePaul University in Lincoln Park to learn about environmental studies and possible futures based on sustainability.

The field trip was part of an ongoing partnership between the Gary Comer Youth Center and DePaul's Steans Center through the environmental science and studies department.

The all-day trip focused on urban farming, including a tour of DePaul's urban garden, and a number of talks by university professors on the growing fields of environmental science.

The Gary Comer Youth Center was founded in 2006 to support students to graduate from high school and prepare themselves for college and careers.

One way the center is doing that is through the rooftop garden and 1.75-acre youth education farm and environmental education garden.

For some students, it was their first time at DePaul.

"It's cool being out here seeing other gardens from other schools and seeing how they function," said 18-year-old Careem Coleman. "It's a good experience."

Coleman said his mother is a gardener and her interest is what sparked him to get involved.

"She's influenced me to work into it and see how much responsibility you need to put in for it to grow," he said.

Katelynn Davis came back from her freshman year at the University of Iowa to come back to the youth center and spend the summer with students working in the gardens.

"I'm a city girl, but it kind of makes me appreciate nature more working in the gardens," she said.

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