The art opening for “Trees Close Up” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Oak Park Public Library Art Gallery, 834 Lake St., in Oak Park. The exhibition will remain on display through Oct. 30
These paintings pay homage to common native trees in our urban forest. Most are larger than life studies of buds, blossoms and seeds -- miraculous moments in a process where sun, wind and water interact with the wisdom encoded in trees to perpetuate life.
Some of our area’s oldest living beings are oaks that sunk roots here long before the first European settlers arrived. Ernest Hemingway might have walked under their branches. Generations of children played in their shade.
Celebrate OAKtober Tree Forum will honor these oaks and point us forward toward a “tree culture.” Featuring four exceptional speakers and information tables, the event will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, in the 2nd floor Veterans’ Room of the Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St.
August brought an end to another successful completion of Green Community Connection’s youth sustainability leadership program, formerly known as “I Can Fly.” This summer’s program, “Austin Grown,” was a collaboration between GCC and BUILD Chicago, an organization serving Chicago’s at-risk youth since 1969 through gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development programs.
The 8-week “Austin Grown” program involved 10 students, hailing primarily from the Austin, Garfield Park, and North Lawndale communities of Chicago, including two who returned from GCC’s 2017 pilot cohort.
We are blessed with an abundance of mature trees on the Greater West Side of Chicago. And that means birds are flying above us all the time. What makes them want to stop and linger in a particular garden? Jim Gill and Elaine Petkovsek are making that discovery. For the past year, they have been working on creating a “bird garden” in their backyard. They are putting the finishing touches on a project that’s taken some muscle, a little research… and becoming a bit of a bird-brain.
Pembroke Township, in the southeast corner of Kankakee County, is full of treasures of both place and people. From its black oak savanna to its black rodeo, topography and culture meet to create a one-of-a kind, rural community.
This summer, six area high school students participating in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) documented some of what makes Pembroke so unique via three Young Filmmakers Workshops with Matt Wechsler of Hourglass Films.
People who are curious about easy, affordable ways to add beauty to their home landscapes or who want to attract more beneficial wildlife to their yards can attend the “Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 10, in Oak Park and River Forest.
Appropriate for beginning to advanced home gardeners, the tour will feature eight enchanting Oak Park and River Forest native gardens featuring Illinois native plants, including shade, sun and rain gardens, according to Pamela Todd, director of West Cook Wild Ones, the tour’s organizer.
Out of Oak Park, Forest Park, Maywood and Berwyn, one community earned the title of “greenest suburb” when comparing per capita carbon dioxide emissions, but the winner may surprise you.
Author, researcher and former Oak Park resident Susan Subak will reveal the answer on Wednesday, July 10, when discussing her 2018 book, “The Five-Ton Life: Carbon, America, and the Culture That May Save Us.” The presentation will include Susan’s research on the low carbon culture of west suburban Chicago compared to other environmental leaders on the East Coast, a slideshow and a book signing. The event will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library Main Branch, 834 Lake St., in the Veterans Room on the second floor.
A month after losing Sally Stovall (co-founder of Green Community Connections), we are so very thankful for the hundreds of people who reached out to share memories of her, attend a memorial service and even help to continue her work. If you feel inspired to do so, please contact us to help with or attend any of these initiatives.
Sally Stovall Memorial Plastic-Free/Low Plastic Summer Challenge. Plastic-free living was a cause Sally was working on shortly before she passed away. Reduce your plastic waste and compete for a prize and bragging rights.
Join a book discussion of "Braiding Sweetgrass" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave., in River Forest. Sponsored by the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Nature Book Club.
This collection of essays was a favorite of GCC’s co-founder, Sally Stovall, who passed away a little more than a month ago. “It opened up a whole new way of looking at things,” she said about the book a few years ago, when she organized a five-week reading group around it. Later, in writing a brief review, Sally wrote, “The stories in each chapter have delighted and nurtured me in a way that I find hard to describe. From the first essay on, I have been sharing my enthusiasm for this book like an evangelist!”
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 email@example.com. “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.