September eNews: Garden Tour Recap; Native landscaping practicionerClimate marches; Upcoming Events

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"Birds, Bees & Butterflies Native Garden Tour" gets enthusiastic response

The September 7th Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour hosted by West Cook Wild Ones and Green Community Connections drew more than 140 experienced and beginner native plant gardeners and those wanting to learn what this was all about. They came from near (Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn and Cicero) and farther—Plainfield, Downers Grove, Elk Grove Village and various parts of Chicago — to visit 11 residential and public gardens.  More than 40 homeowners, master gardeners, volunteers, sponsors and Forest Preserve staff members also helped to make the afternoon a rich, educational - and fun! - event.

The West Cook Wild Ones Wildlife Corridor also received a lot of attention at the event, and more people pledged their gardens to be part of it. The Wildlife Corridor is envisioned as a contiguous swath (at least 2 per block) of native gardens in residential and public spaces from Columbus Park in Chicago to Thatcher Woods in River Forest.  Watch for more detail and ways to be involved in this unique and important project which will be coming soon.Continue reading for more details.


 Douglas Chien's Urban Native Garden

Douglas Chien's Oak Park, IL, garden is attractive, colorful and full of life — and full of native plants. His garden was one of eleven featured on the September 7thBirds, Bees & Butterflies native garden tour, which was co-sponsored by Green Community Connections and West Cook Wild Ones. In fact, many birds (including a female goldfinch), bees and quite a few species of butterflies appeared in his garden that day. Plus, more than 70 people came through for a tour.

Douglas, the Advocates' Network Manager with Friends of the Forest Preserves, explained to visitors how he created his native plant oasis in the heart of West Cook County. About 12 years ago, Douglas and his partner Michele Gurgas bought their Oak Park home on a corner lot, which had a traditional landscape highlighted by lawn and two large American elm trees gracing the parkways. But within the year, the trees succumbed to Dutch elm disease and were taken down.
Continue reading Doug's story.

 Two Chances to Support Climate Action Marches

It's not every day you meet national activists and get the chance to make history with them. On Saturday, September 6, ten Green Community Connections members and more area residents joined marchers at various points along the Oak Park-to-Chicago leg of the Great March for Climate Action. Billed as the "longest climate march in American history," the Great March for Climate Action's goal is to "change the hearts and minds of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world to act now to address the climate crisis."

Along our walk through Oak Park, Austin, Garfield Park, the Loop, Grant Park and a rally in Daley Plaza, we chatted with the 35 people who are participating in the entire 3,000-mile, 7-month march from Los Angeles to Washington DC. We also met and talked to Ed Fallon, the founder and director of the Great March for Climate Action. (See our interview with him below.)

Join Chicagoans in NYC for the People's Climate March Sept. 21

You can still join the largest climate march: the People's Climate March, in New York City on September 21.  At least eight members of Green Community Connections and the local chapter of Citizen's Climate Lobby are going. Will you join us? Most of us are taking a bus organized by the Sierra Club's Chicago chapter. Get the details here:

Read more, including our interview with Ed Fallon.

Upcoming Community and Regional Events

Trailside Museum Fall Season:  Multiple dates and programs throughout the month of September.  Click here for details.

Citizens Climate Lobby MeetingSaturday, September 13, 2014, at 12:30pm, (an hour later than  usual).  The location for this month's meeting is the Book Discussion Room on the second floor of the Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake Street in Oak  Park. For questions call Dick Alton, 773-344-7172.

Barrie Fest:  Saturday, September 13th, 2014, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM., at Barrie Park, 1110 Lombard Ave, Features live music, kids games and food vendors. Sponsored by the Southeast Oak Park Community Organization.

Repair Café:  Saturday, September 20, 2014, 10am-2pm at the Oak Park Arms Lifelong Learning Center, 414 S. Oak Park Ave.  Oak Park Repair Cafes are free meeting places, and they’re all about fixing things, rather than throwing them away.  At the Repair Cafe, you’ll find the tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need, and repair specialists to help you.

Oaktoberfest:  Friday, Sept 19 - Saturday, Sept 20, 2014, Celebrate the changing seasons at Oaktoberfest in Downtown Oak Park. Enjoy a premier music line up, delicious fall foods from local restaurants, specialty craft beers, and a Kids' Root Beer Garden. 


Care for Trees by Caring for the Soil:  Sunday, Sept 21, 2014, 2:30 - 4:30pm, Room 259, at the Dominican University, Priory Campus, 7200 Division, River Forest, IL.  It's not just dirt! Learn the connection between soil health and the health of the plants, wildlife, people and the planet. Presentation by Dan Krug from Care of Trees. Sponsored by  the West Cook Wild Ones.

"How Sculpture Saves Trees"  Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St., Oak Park, IL, Meet sculptor Margot McMahon and see the birds she carved that are now part of this innovative project on.  Learn more:

Steps Toward a Sustainable Future:  Energy, Food & Water:  Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 6:30-8:30pm, Student Center,  Room B-223, Triton College, 2000 Fifth Ave, River Grove, IL  60171.  Green Drinks Series with Guest Speaker Victor Zaderej, Author, Inventor

Oak Park Park District Fall Fest:  September 28, 2014, 11am-2:00pm, Oak Park's FREE autumnal family festival returns this year at Rehm Park and the Conservatory. Held the last Sunday in September, Fall Fest has something for all ages.

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