CHICAGO: Inspired by the motto of “Think Globally, Act Locally,” BAPS Charities in Bartlett celebrated their 15th annual Walkathon with greater efforts to promote nature conservation.
Taking the first steps in their hometown of Bartlett, community members planted a red oak tree in the Bartlett Park District and raised funds to build a restructured playground for physically disabled and special needs children.
Recognizing the need to promote environment awareness, this year BAPS Charities Walk Green is supporting The Nature Conservancy and its Plant a Billion Trees campaign to restore 1.6 million acres of land by 2025. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
With over 1 million members, the organization protects more than 119 million acres of land, thousands of miles of rivers, and operates more than 100 marine conservation projects globally since 1951. In support of this initiative, BAPS Charities’ walks across North America will contribute to the rejuvenation of dying forests by helping plant over 70,000 trees in United States.
This year’s walk brought together over 989 participants and 100 volunteers between the ages of a 9-month baby and a 90-year old gentleman. The walk launched with a traditional prayer for world peace and an opening speech by Village President, Kevin Wallace, who announced, “I’m so happy BAPS is having their walkathon today to benefit the park district and I just can’t say how much they do to benefit our entire community.”
Recognizing BAPS Charities efforts to contribute locally to this important cause, Rita Fletcher, Executive Director of the Bartlett Park District said, “This is a wonderful event and an amazing goal as we are always budgeting for more trees and ways to promote going green. I’m so excited for this walkathon and Bartlett is better because you’re here and because of your contributions.”
Sergeant Geoffrey Pretkelis, Bartlett Police, volunteered at the walkathon and felt extremely honored to be part of such a large community event hosted by BAPS.
After the walk, he humbly stated, “This is an incredible cause and what a tremendous effort by all of the volunteers.
It’s always a proud moment to give back to your community and BAPS has given back a lot to this community here in Bartlett.
My favorite part about the walkathon is seeing all the ages of the volunteers and participants who are eager to help their community and their local park district.”