Announcing: Recipients of Garden for Nature Grant

| Community, Grants, Learning, Wildlife

Announcing: Recipients of Garden for Nature Grant

West Cook Wild Ones launches its 2020 Garden for Nature program by announcing grants totaling more than $4,500 to 14 nonprofit and public organizations in the Chicago area.

About the grant and the process:

Garden for Nature funds projects mainly in western Cook County that engage young people in planting native gardens and natural landscapes that make their communities healthier and more beautiful.

This year’s grant recipients include schools, houses of worship, community and nature centers and parks from East Garfield Park to River Forest and Cicero to Palos Heights.

All projects celebrate the restorative power of plants that attract pollinators and provide habitat for bees, butterflies and birds. 

They were chosen after careful review by a panel of Wild Ones board members and Conservation@Home Cook County staff.  Applications were evaluated after being scored on the basis of such metrics as plant selection, ability to implement and sustain, involvement and educational value for young people, visibility and contribution to an under-resourced area.

Grants were made possible by generous donations to the nonprofit West Cook Wild Ones, which shares information and educates landowners about the importance of their landscaping choices. 

Conservation@Home Cook County is a partnership of University of Illinois Extension and Forest Preserves of Cook County.  It recognizes and certifies properties that demonstrate environmentally sound landscape practices. Through its master gardener and master naturalist programs, Conservation@Home will make volunteer mentors available for the projects.

Garden for Nature 2020 grants range from $70 to $500, to be used solely to buy plants or seeds.


  •     Austin Grown, BUILD Chicago Campus, 5100 W Harrison St., Chicago, to expand native plantings to provide pollinators for urban farm that supports youth learning about environmental sustainability.
  •     Eli Whitney Elementary School, 2815 S. Komensky Ave., Chicago, to increase biodiversity with native plants researched, chosen and planted by students.
  •     Fuerza Youth Center, Corazon Community Center, 5339 W 25th St, Cicero, to expand a pollinator garden to support vegetable gardens.
  •     First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St., Oak Park, to expand a Memorial Garden with native shrubs and wildflowers while involving youth groups.
  •     Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, 325 S. Kenilworth Ave., Oak Park, to establish native landscaping to provide food and shelter for migrating birds, which is part of the curriculum.
  •     Julian Middle School, 416 S Ridgeland Ave, Oak Park, creating rain, prairie and pollinator gardens with plants chosen, planted and maintained by the school’s Green Team.
  •     Lincoln Elementary School, 511 Park Ave., River Forest, to expand native gardens and develop tools to integrate them into curriculum and activities.
  •     Marshall High School, 3250 W Adams Street, Chicago, toward a phased restoration of the campus to a monarch and wildlife habitat.
  •     Oak Park Temple, 1235 N. Harlem Ave., toward a phased replacement of turf into a 6,000 square foot natural garden with signage for learning, gathering, reflection.
  •     Proska Park, Berwyn Park District, 3001 Wisconsin Ave., to begin restoring the park’s wildflower garden.
  •     The Children’s School, 200 S Oak Park Ave., to replace turf with prairie plantings to extend the school’s culture of care for the land. 
  •     Lake Katherine Nature Center, 7402 W Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights, to involve summer camp youth in planting and maintaining a pollinator garden.
  •     Longfellow Elementary School, 715 Highland Ave, Oak Park, to create a pollinator garden in conjunction with a planned edible garden. 
  •     Rush Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Oak Park, Oak Park, to expand a small healing garden with native plantings by youth groups.


For information about donating to Garden for Nature grants or applying in 2021, contact West Cook Wild Ones at [email protected].