Art students decorate tree at Brookfield Zoo

TREE TRIMMING TIME—Third grade students from Coal City Elementary School place handcrafted ornaments on a tree at Brookfield Zoo.

     Coal City Elementary School students are doing their part to brighten the holiday season, and their efforts support the work of the Chicago Zoological Society.
    Under the direction of art teacher Julie Brncich, third grade students created ornaments for a tree to be featured as part of the Community Tree Trim at Brookfield Zoo.
    Coal City Parent School Organization (PSO) provided the registration fee that goes directly back to the zoological society, a non-profit organization focused on animal care and conservation.
    For the project, all third graders collected recycled water bottles and during art class turned them into colorful and glittery holiday tree ornaments.
    When it came time to decorate the tree, 28 third graders traveled to the zoo to help their teacher place the ornaments on a pine selected just for them.  The students’ admission to the zoo was provided by the PSO.
    “My art students really care about helping animals and this project was a perfect combination of giving back and being creative. I am so proud of them and their effort,” Brncich said.
    The students tree, number 428, is located between Tropic World and the Pachyderm House. The tree will be lit and on display as part of the zoo’s 36th annual Holiday Magic event presented by ComEd and Meijer.
    Holiday Magic is Chicagoland’s largest and longest running lights festival. This year’s display features more than one million lights.
    The lights will be on Dec. 2 and 3, 9 and 10 and 16 and 17 and  from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31. The zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. A few additional highlights include a 41-foot talking tree, ice carver, singing to the animals and the many animal exhibits.
    Brncich said the students had fun decorating the tree and while at the zoo on Sunday, Nov. 19 they took some time to enjoy exploring.    
    Students joining Brncich for the tree trimming were Wyatt Chase, Scott Manering, Sean Bergin, Maxx Kramer, Aiden Scrogham, Lorelai Erhard, Joshua Whalen, Laynah Pierard, Elizabeth Nadess, Keaton Berta, Brody D’Orazio, Vincent Greene, Maggie Sterba, Riley Lavasseur, Carter Nichelson and  Alex Carlson.
    Also, Olivia Serena, Jack Steinhouse, Camden Allen, Caroline Childers, Bobby Stoudt, Amelia Collins, Alivia Waliczek, Kayla Stalter, Ty Christopher, Mia McKim, Avery Gill, Ethan Tidball, Ava Hone, Ethan Donnelly and Avery Housman.