2023 Accomplishment Wild Ones West Cook

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Wild Ones West Cook Accomplishments 2023

2023 was another productive year! We continue to do impactful grass-roots level work. Read through the highlights of the past year. You will see how we are making a real difference in our community and ensuring the Earth will be a better place for future generations of people and other living creatures.

The following board members whose voluntary, constant, year-round, 24/7 dedication makes our incredibly robust chapter run. 

Laura Hartwell Berlin, our president, is one of the main engines behind our programs, plant sale, and garden tour. There would be no WCWO without her!

Stephanie Walquist, vice-president, co-founder, and grant committee member. Stephanie provides the impetus to many of our programs, and she handles the website and social media accounts. 

Sharon Storbeck, treasurer, also helps with the plant sale logistics and  all the financial nitty-gritty.

Byron Lanning, secretary, brings his distinctive voice to our newsletters and other communications. We are so lucky to have such a talented writer bring his inspired musings and turns-of phrases to our communications.

Candace Blank, membership chair, makes sure we take into account our members and creates new initiatives to help engage members more. 

Doug Chien, grant chair, makes sure the grant program continues.

Carolyn Cullen brings an incredible amount of expertise in native plants, running our Shopify site, finding sources for native plants, communicating with customers about their orders along with all her other advocacy efforts and making new connections for us. 

Adrian Ayres Fisher is another engine behind programs, garden tour, and our advocacy efforts.  Adrian continues to lead the charge in matters of local environmental policies.

Byron Lanning brings his distinctive voice to our newsletters and other communications. We are so lucky to have such a talented writer bring his inspired musings and turns-of phrases to our communications.

Kerrie Gonzalez, our volunteer coordinator, makes sure we have enough volunteers for our events and ensures that directions are clear so that volunteers have a wonderful experience. 

We hope our programs, events, and resources help you access nature, understand it, and protect it. We appreciate all of you who attended the programs, gave feedback, bought and planted (!) plants, shared information with friends, neighbors, and workplaces.

Below you can read about what we were up to month by month. Thank you to our members, volunteers, plant sale customers, garden tour attendees, and the FPDCC–your support makes this work possible. 

Month-by-Month Activities 


  • Member meeting





  • Tabled at Oak Park Farmers’ Market Green Days and at Trailside’s Spring Festival
  • Presentation: Ethnobotany of Our Region with Gina Roxas


  • Plant Sale Pick up:  We love partnering with the Forest Preserves District Cook County and Conservation@Home. Buyers picked up the plants and plant kits at the FPDCC’s Warehouse and the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. 
  • Gave input to the Village of Oak Park’s Parkway Planting Ordinance
  • Presentation: The Dark Side of Nature with Ken Walczak


  • Birds, Bees, & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour


  • Tabled at Conservation@Home Celebration, Green Block Parties: Mobilizing for Monarchs (a program created by Sally Stovall), and with Seven Generations Ahead at Brewfest. 
  • Adrian advocates about light pollution with Village of Oak Park
  • Presentation: Gardening for Moths with Chelsea Gottfried


  • Tabled at Wolf Road Prairie’s Prairie Fest and another Green Block Party.
  • Fall Nature Fest, tabled by Laura Stamp, Rhona Taylor, and Candace Blank
  • Presentation: Go Wild For Bats


  • Pick up for the Fall Tree and Shrub Sale.
  • 10 people picked up their new native trees and/or shrubs for the Invasive Plant Trade-in. As a result of the program, several people learned about invasive plants and then learned that they had them in their yards. Though it was small again this year, this program has the potential to have huge impacts. 
  • Program: The Nighttime Marathon of the Birds with Edward Warden


Planning is underway for next year’s plant sales, programs, and garden tour. Adrian represents WOWC at Climate Ready Community Outreach to Oak Park (COOP) group meeting.

We hope that in reviewing some of our work over the course of the year you feel proud of what you’ve enabled and hopeful for the future. Thank you to everyone who is taking care of the environment and animals, wherever you are.