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January 2019


Wintersowing Workshop at Seguin

This event has ended
Sunday, January 27th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Seguin Garden and Gift Center, 5621 West 31st Street, Cicero, IL, 60804 Map

Seguin’s Gardens & Gifts, 5621 W. 31st St. Cicero, IL
Fee: $5 (pay at the door)

Presenter: Janice Gricus

Learn how to work with Mother Nature in magically turning locally collected native seed into stunning, pollinator-friendly beauties.  Seed saver and winter sower extraordinaire Janice Gricus will share her seeds and strategies for propagating our own native plants. The magic of winter conditions will help you get new plants started inexpensively.   

West Cook Wild Ones will also have seeds on hand. Consider bringing one or more containers, such as milk jugs or plastic clamshell containers (as used for strawberries or salads).  Supplies will be available for purchase as well.

We will offer a Winter Seed Exchange as well. Please bring native seeds you’ve harvested to share and exchange.

February 2019


The Naturally Beautiful Garden Conference

This event has ended
Saturday, February 16th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Triton College Performing Arts Ctr, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL, 60171 Map

Visionary landscape architect Claudia West, author of Planting in a Post-Wild World, and award-winning garden designer Ben Vogt, author of A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future, will lead a half-day conference on how to design stunning home landscapes that inspire human happiness, provide critical habitat for wildlife and fight climate change.

Learn more about The Naturally Beautiful Garden Conference.

April 2019


Earth Words: A Nature Writing Workshop

This event has ended
Sunday, April 28th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Maze Library, 845 Gunderson Ave, Oak Park, IL, 60304 Map

Presenter: Carol LaChapelle

Learn to write about the nature where you live: in nearby parks and nature preserves; along rivers, lakes, and ponds; and in your own backyard. Whether in a private journal or for publication, you will learn techniques for describing the flora and fauna you encounter, and also recording and reflecting on the meaning they have for you.

All are welcome to attend, no matter your experience in journal writing or writing for others.

Carol LaChapelle, close to nature

Carol LaChapelle is a writer, teacher, and the author of Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories (Marion Street Press, 2008).  Her essays have appeared on the Center for Humans & Nature’s City Creatures blog, Chicago Wilderness Magazine, and Next Avenue.

May 2019


The Monarch and Its Migration

This event has ended
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Maze Library, 845 Gunderson Ave, Oak Park, IL, 60304 Map

The life cycle of the monarch, the best known butterfly species in the world, is closely tied to its amazing migration. Doug Taron will explore both the life cycle and the migration, discussing:

the butterfly's behavior on its wintering grounds in Mexico,
efforts both in Mexico and Illinois to track population fluctuations,
conservation issues surrounding the monarch.

Learn what you can do from your own home to aid in conserving this iconic insect.  
About the Presenter
Doug Taron is Chief Curator at Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Responsible for all living material in and on the grounds of the Museum, he manages the 2,700 square-foot Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. Taron also shares leadership in managing Bluff Spring Fen, a 95-acre Illinois State Nature Preserve in Cook County, Illinois.  Since 1989, he has served as Director of the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network. Taron received a BA in Biology from Colby College in Waterville, Maine and a PhD from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Northwestern University.

June 2019


Wolf Road Prairie: Morning Tour

This event has ended
Sunday, June 16th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Save the Prairie Society, 11225 Constitution Dr., Westchester, IL, 60154 Map

Join Save the Prairie Society leaders for a Father's Day morning tour. 
Meet at 10 a.m at the Prairie House.  

Designated an Illinois Nature Preserve, Wolf Road Prairie contains several native communities, including mesic prairie, mesic savanna and wetland. It is home to more than 360 native plant species. The resident migratory birds, amphibians, insects, butterflies and mammals are too numerous to count. In combination, the ecosystem features of the site make for a one-of-a-kind natural area, unlike any in the world. The prairie remnant at Wolf Road Prairie is considered the largest and best quality black soil or mesic prairie east of the Mississippi River. The wetland on site is considered of high aquatic quality.

Culver's Root

The story behind the prairie’s rescue matches its distinctive ecosystem. In the 1920s, plans were in place for a residential development with 600 lots platted and sidewalks laid. The Great Depression and the financial collapse of its developer, the electric utility magnate Samuel Insull, brought it all to a halt. Decades later, when development efforts resurfaced, four citizens stepped up to save the prairie: a high school teacher, a garden club member,  a history lover, and a birder. Their work and commitment, contacting and convincing reluctant owners to sell,  led to the Illinois Nature Preserve and the Forest Preserve of Cook County purchasing the all the lots, saving the prairie.  

Plants you can expect to see in bloom: Prairie Phlox, Yellow Star Grass,  Hoary Puccoon, Monkey Flower, Blue Eyed Grass, False Dragon Head, Prairie Violet, Pale Spike Lobelia, Meadow Anemone, Golden Alexander, Shooting Star, Prairie Lily, Prairie Rose, and more.

Tour guides will be Lawrence Godson and Rita McCabe. Lawrence Godson is President of the Save the Prairie Society and an export on its history, plants, and insects, and a 20-year steward of Wolf Road Prairie. Rita McCabe has been a steward of the prairie for 19 years, learning from leaders and observing its ecosystem along the way. 

Please register for this free program.

Photos by Stephanie Walquist

July 2019


Expanding Our Borders: Forest Preserves of Cook County

This event has ended
Sunday, July 14th, 2019
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Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Photo: Cook County Forest Preserves

The Forest Preserves of Cook County may surprise you with its new programming. Conservation@Home, Bird the Preserves, and the Greater Maywood Paddling Programs are just a few new offerings. Join us as we explore the programming that goes beyond Forest Preserves’ borders to target new audiences and tap into community support.

Presenter Nina Baki is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Over the past 15 years, Nina has worked in the field of conservation connecting people to the outdoors through interpretive programs and activities.  Currently, Nina works on outreach and engagement opportunities to promote the Forest Preserves and its resources, exposing people to nature and sharing how to live more sustainable and healthy life for themselves and the environment.

We'll meet in the Veterans Room at the Oak Park Main Library. 

August 2019


Our Rivers

This event has ended
Sunday, August 18th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Historic photos, maps and diagrams show the fascinating history of the Chicago River. Presenter Mark Hauser will share it with you--from the post-glacial world, through European exploration and exploitation, to the modern city with a troubled (albeit cleaner) river. Learn about the challenges facing the Chicago River today and how you can help. 

Active with the Friends of the Chicago River since 2007, Mark Hauser manages the Chicago River Schools Network. He trains volunteers in restoration projects such as repairing gullies, monitoring wildlife habitat, and conducting plant surveys. He has supported the environmental education goals of hundreds of teachers, led over 800 field trips to the river, and organized a river conference for students. He has written environmental curricula for the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Riverwalk. He teaches ecology classes for NEIU, UIC, Loyola University, DePaul University, and Roosevelt University. Previously, Mark led service learning projects with AmeriCorps, partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency, parks departments, and allied organizations to clean and monitor the Second River in Newark, NJ and restore habitats in New York City. He received an M.S. in Natural Resources with a focus on environmental education from Ohio State University. 

We'll meet in the Veterans Room of the Oak Park Main Library. 

September 2019


Plant Blindness

This event has ended
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St, Oak Park, 60304 Map

We could not survive without plants. Yet, the public largely overlooks this entire set of organisms. Children recognize conspicuous animals or the Nike swish, but will struggle to name more than a few plants. Chris Benda will introduce the concept of “plant blindness”: the inability to notice and understand the amazing diversity of plants that surround us every day. How can we change this trend? Chris will share his ideas.

Chris Benda is a botanist and past president of the Illinois Native Plant Society (2015-2016).  A native of Minnesota, Chris moved to Illinois from California in 2004 and received a Master's Degree in Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in 2007.  He was a regional ecologist for the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory Update in southern Illinois from 2008-2012. Chris teaches the Flora of Southern Illinois at Southern Illinois University in the summer and a variety of classes at The Morton Arboretum.  He is an accomplished photographer and author of several publications about natural areas in Illinois. He is also known as Illinois Botanizer and can be reached by email at [email protected].

October 2019


Celebrate OAKtober Tree Forum

This event has ended
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
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Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Oak Park is Illinois’ first municipal arboretum, with more than 18,000 trees lining its streets. Its Heritage Oak Propagation Program has saved hundreds of 200- to 300-year old trees and planted their acorns in local parks. For our October program,  a stellar panel of will present on the urban forest ecosystem. Learn about such topics as:

How to protect disappearing oak savannas, woodlands, and forests
Landscaping for healthy trees
Discovering Oak Park’s heritage oaks
The managing and maintenance of an urban forest
Adopting an oak

Free and open to the public. 
Lydia Scott directs The Morton Arboretum’s Chicago Region Trees Initiative, a coalition of about 200 organizations working to improve the health of the urban forest for better quality life. She will talk about oak ecosystems from the 1830s to the present and how we can be part of a regional effort to preserve, protect and enhance them for the future.

Mark Duntemann is owner of Duntemann Urban Forestry and an internationally recognized expert in tree risk assessment and tree management policy development. His practice emphasizes management and preservation of trees with local cultural and ecologic significance. Mark will  describe a year-long project in Oak Park to map the large diameter oaks that are the remnant of a pre-European woodland.  The trees that remain inform an understanding of the area’s ecologic past, and, as importantly, the role of the community as stewards in preserving this dwindling population.

Robert Sproule is a Master Arborist and superintendent of Oak Park’s Forest Division. Previously,  he worked for the cities of New York, Chicago and the Chicago Park District. Rob will provide an overview of this urban forest, discuss the village’s current management practices and future plans.

Roy Diblik is a recognized perennial plant expert, grower, designer, speaker and author who specializes in sustainable plant communities for all seasons. He is perhaps best known as the plants man behind Piet Oudolf’s Midwestern garden designs including the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago. He will remind us that plants don’t live alone in nature, yet we often “plop trees into a heavy clay hole and hope they survive.” Roy will discuss how companion plants can provide better growing environments, why wood mulch may not always be the best fertilizer and where sedges can be as effective as turf grass.

Give yourself time to visit the Art Gallery before the program. It features Trees Close Up: Botanical Watercolors by Barbara Rose.

The Oak Park Library opens at 1:00 p.m.

The presentation will be in the Veterans Room, which will open at 1:30 p.m. We’ll have table information on the Heritage Oak Propagation Program and more.

November 2019


The Woods Near My Home

This event has ended
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

The trees close to your home affect your life in so many ways – and you are also important to those trees. Join Dr. Megan Dunning, Manager of Adult Learning Programs at The Morton Arboretum, to explore our relationship with nearby nature.  She’ll introduce you to a few of her favorite trees, discuss the benefits trees bring to our lives, and share what community members are doing to protect and care for the trees they live with. 

In the Veterans Room on the second floor of the  Oak Park Main Library.

Megan Dunning is proud to be a Champion of Trees in her role as the Manager of Adult Learning Programs for The Morton Arboretum, a 1700 acre museum of trees west of Chicago. She oversees curriculum development and management of educational programs focused on trees, gardens, nature, and botany for college and adult audiences. Before joining the Arboretum, Megan completed a Ph.D. in Genetics at The University of Chicago, studying plant-pathogen co-evolution. She is a plant enthusiast and an advocate for the power of spending time in nature.