When most people retire, they kick back, take cruises, and visit the grandchildren. Sally Stovall was not most people. She did, indeed, relish visiting her grandchildren, but after she retired from a career in organizational development, Sally embarked on a new, vibrant career as climate activist and community organizer.
In September 2010, Sally and her partner, Dick Alton, were worried about global warming and decided to hold a community meeting to see if others felt the same way. Out of the woodwork poured a cohort of people with the same concerns --no real surprise in progressive Oak Park.
When monarch butterflies migrate over 2,000 miles to Mexico during the winter, they head to the same places within the fir forests each year. This fact may not sound impressive, but the monarchs who fly to Mexico may be fourth generation butterflies who have never seen the mountain forests and do not have any living ancestors to lead the way from experience.
Doug Taron, chief curator at Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, will speak about the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies at a West Cook Wild Ones monthly meeting from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, at the Oak Park Public Library Maze Branch, 845 Gunderson Ave.
It happened suddenly, almost overnight. Just 700 feet from young children playing, MAT Asphalt, LLC appeared on the southern border of McKinley Park, at 2055 W. Pershing Rd., in Chicago, in early 2018. The plant produces up to 890,000 tons of asphalt per year.
Almost as quickly, Neighbors for Environmental Justice (N4EJ) formed in response; they are a group of local citizens who claim the plant brings dust and fumes, which could damage children’s lungs, increase rates of asthma, and possibly worse.
Not many people would let a tarantula crawl across their hand and consider it a “magical” experience. Nor allow an octopus to grasp their arm with its suckers, but author Sy Montgomery did both, telling stories about the animals in “How to be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals.”
The Nature Book Club of the Trailside Museum of Natural History will hold a free discussion of “How to Be a Good Creature” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 2. The museum is located at 738 Thatcher Ave. in River Forest. For details, contact 708-366-6530 or firstname.lastname@example.org. “How to Be a Good Creature” is a New York Times bestseller, and Montgomery is a National Book Award finalist.
If you curl up with A Sand County Almanac by a window, you may soon be looking outside and seeing a passing dog as a “professor” of scents. You may imagine how if a nearby chickadee worked, it would have a “Keep calm” sign above its desk. Aldo Leopold’s classic book combines such memorable and humorous observations of flora and fauna on his Wisconsin sand farm, as well as his thoughts and philosophy on conservation.
Jim Gill and Elaine Petkovsek are creating an oasis for birds in their backyard. Directly underneath the overhead bird feeder, they will plant an American Hazelnut which will be visible from their patio table (behind).
2018 is the Year of the Bird, designated by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, and other bird-loving organizations. They are inviting bird-lovers to “help build a better world for birds by taking a simple but meaningful action each month.”
Green Mountain Energy (GME) Sun Club is partnering with the Park District of Oak Park to provide $100,000 for solar panels, rain harvesting, tea composting and bees at the Oak Park Conservatory.
To secure these funds, the Park District needs your help. Click on the link below to identify actions you and your family will take to help make our community more sustainable and contribute to the overall health of Mother Earth.
Have you ever walked by a beautiful garden brimming with blooms and butterflies and thought, I wonder how they did this? The upcoming Birds, Bees & Butterflies Native Garden Tour in Oak Park and River Forest will give you a chance to satisfy your curiosity and talk to the people behind their own gardens. Passionate native plant enthusiasts, master gardeners, professional designers and experienced naturalists will guide you through 12 enchanting gardens that creatively incorporate native plants.
Local students took top prizes in the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest at the elementary and middle school levels in both 2018 and 2017. Winning films premiered at the One Earth Film Festival in March at Columbia College along with top films from across the country at high school and college levels. At that time, students were fêted with monetary prizes, certificates, T-shirts, and a reception.
Spring has sprung, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.
Host a green show & tell event at your block party to explore ways we can do our part to support Mother Nature. You can choose from one of the following topics offered by Green Community Connections and friends or design your own event.
If you’ve ever wondered about pigeons’ navigational abilities, parrots’ linguistic skills or the musical memory of mockingbirds – and even if you haven’t -- it might be time to pick up a copy of The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman.
Students at Morton High School worked to solve the real-world problem of the declining monarch population by building a 5,000-square-foot monarch habitat and native garden at the Freshman Center in late April.
Join the workday for the Student Citizen Science Monarch Ecological Engineering Project beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28, and continuing throughout the day at the Morton Freshman Center, 1801 South 55th Ave., in Cicero. Stay for just the morning, the afternoon, or all day.
Landscape Historian Barbara Geiger, will teach "A Crash Course in Garden History" from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at Dole Library, 225 Augusta in Oak Park.
In this lecture full of images Barbara will hit high points in the story of gardening through the ages. How the constraints of water, gravity, soil, and climate shaped design. How major design styles leapt national boundaries to take root in new environments.
Since 1975, Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has promoted sound environmental laws and policies in Illinois. More than 80 affiliate organizations across the state collaborate through the IEC to create policies that protect Illinois’ air, water, and natural areas. IEC is the only organization that provides regular updates on the issues affecting the environment at the state level. We encourage Green Community Connections readers to sign up for the updates at the IEC website: https://ilenviro.org
This summer a new youth leadership program gave a cohort of Chicago teens a safe and nurturing environment to learn lessons that enriched their lives, as well as the neighborhood where they live. During July, teens in the “I Can Fly” Youth Leadership Program focused on the richness of the soil, not the economic poverty around them; the sweet fruits of labor, not the bitterness of systemic discrimination.
Green Community Connections was pleased to partner with so many incredible partners for its inaugural I Can Fly Youth Leadership Program this summer. Learn about I Can Fly!See photos from the program, review the program backgrounder, and meet the wonderful partners and supporters who made it all possible.
Trees and shrubs provide butterflies, moths, birds, and bees many different resources. Planting trees and shrubs is also a great way to help out the environment, since they produce oxygen, sequester carbon, clean the air and water, and provide numerous other benefits. You can even forest bathe right in your own yard!
“Visitors loved seeing the goldfinches on the anise hyssop and cup plants, the monarchs landing on the swamp milkweed and bumblebees everywhere. There were literally ‘oohs and ahs,’” says garden host Adrian Fisher. With Mother Nature’s cooperation, the Interfaith Green Network, Green Community Connections and West Cook Wild Ones hosted a successful “Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour” in Oak Park and River Forest on August 6.
It’s easy to get discouraged by anti-environment action happening on the federal level…but our state government is actually making a lot of progress in growing our Illinois clean energy industry, protecting our state wildlife, shaping our expanding local food industry and much more. Here in Illinois, there’s actually a lot to feel hopeful about. You can get a snapshot of legislative action in a newly published 2017 Environmental Scorecard, which evaluates individual Illinois state legislators on their environmental voting records. The Scorecard is created by the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), a non-partisan organization promoting sound policies and environmental laws in Springfield.
“Birds, Bees and Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour,” sponsored by West Cook Wild Ones, the Interfaith Green Network and Green Community Connections, offers you an opportunity to visit 15 private and public gardens in Oak Park and River Forest that are brimming with life and beauty. The host gardeners are excited to walk you through these treasured spaces. Each stop on the tour is unique, reflecting each gardener’s interests.
Go green at your next block party! Demonstrations on butterfly gardening, edible gardening, organic lawn care, and composting are among the activities offered by Green Community Connections and PlanItGreen to help bring a sustainability focus to your neighborhood event. More info on how to schedule a green event is available at www.greencommunityconnections.org/green-guides