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January 2020


Party for Members

This event has ended
Sunday, January 19th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St, Oak Park, 60304 Map

Come socialize, hear about 2019 accomplishments, help plan for 2020, and sow some literal seeds for next year.

About this Event
To ring in 2020, we are going to have a party for our members! We'll also take care of some business, such as reporting on all of our 2019 activities and 2020 plans. Results of our Board election will be announced as well.

Additionally, there will be a wintersowing demonstration with supplies and native seeds available for you to take home and do your own wintersowing.

Light refreshments will be available. Please be sure to register for your free tickets. Registration is required for this event. Thanks! RSVP here: Eventbrite 

Not a member but would like to join in the fun? Go here and join Wild Ones: Join

February 2020


Ecological Landscaping with Alexia Paul

This event has ended
Sunday, February 16th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Main Library, 834 Lake St, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Alexia Paul, owner of Re-Ecology, will discuss the important of ecological landscapes on both large and small scales. She will share her philosophy and approach to design. 

You can visit her site here: Re-Ecology

About Alexia: 

ALEXIA PAUL, RLA, ASLA, LEED® AP.Alexia founded Re-Ecology LTD based on a word, re-ecology, she made up to describe a corporate sustainable landscape retrofit project she designed and oversaw the installation and maintenance.There was no single word to describe this work, but there were endless 20-50 year old landscapes in the Chicagoland area that, with the right help, could be beautiful, provide healthy pollinator habitat, and reduce costly irrigation and chemical use.Alexia founded Re-Ecology LTD to provide services supporting living landscapes for people who wanted to be surrounded by natures abundance and beauty.People wanting to create or improve the beauty, health, and natural abundance of their outdoor spaces, are her perfect clients.

Alexia’s portfolio of design experience includes Millennium Park, Lurie Garden, Navy Pier Flyover Bridge, The 606 (Bloomingdale Trail), and South Lakeshore Drive Reconstruction – Jackson Park Section; corridor and community planning and design. She grew up in the family landscape business, nursery business, and installing  maintaining corporate and higher education campus landscapes.

March 2020


One Earth Film Festival's Screening of Ay Mariposa and Biomimimcry

This event has ended
Saturday, March 14th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Triton College Performing Arts Ctr, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL, 60171 Map

One Earth Film Festival's Screening of Ay Mariposa and Biomimicry
We're so excited to be a part of these screenings! And looking forward in general to all of the incredible films brought to the greater Chicago area!

Post-film discussions will include Marianna Trevino Wright, Executive Director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission TX via Skype, and Amy Phillips, founder of Biomimicry Chicago.

Location: Triton College, R Building Performing Arts Center
2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, IL

"Ay Mariposa," Krista Schyler/2019/57 min/Wildlife, Conservation, Environmental & Social Justice

CHICAGO-AREA PREMIERE. FILM DESCRIPTION: “Ay Mariposa” tells a story of three characters in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas whose lives are upended by plans to build a US-Mexico border wall. Meanwhile the butterfly, la mariposa, fights its own daily battle for survival in a landscape where more than 95 percent of its habitat is long gone and much of what remains lies directly in the path of the wall.

"Biomimicry," Leila Conners/2015/22 min/Environmental Advocacy, Wildlife, Health & the Environment

FILM DESCRIPTION: Janine Benyus describes how biomimicry has been applied to create design solutions that capture carbon, conserve water, eschew toxic chemicals in favor of structural approaches, and rethink materials, among others. “When you’re asking how to be better adapted on this planet, there are no better models than the species that have preceded us for billions of years,” said Benyus in the film. “Biomimicry” is brought to you by Leonardo DiCaprio and his team. This film will screen with “Ay Mariposa.”

Get tickets, see more information and trailers, and check out all the other films showing in the Chicagoland area: OneEarthFilmFestival


Garden for Nature Grant Deadline

This event has ended
Sunday, March 15th, 2020
to (Central Time)

West Cook Wild Ones provides modest grants to help non-profits engage young people in creating natural landscapes and learning from them. Grant money may be used to buy plants and seeds for any or several of these purposes:

 to restore or develop a natural plant community
 to provide habitat for native wildlife such as insects and birds
 to educate others about the importance and beauty of native
 to reduce reliance on turf grass.

Some examples of possible projects include creating a pollinator garden and using citizen science to measure its impact; developing a nature trail; removing invasive species and replacing them with natives.

Applicants may be public or non-profit places such as schools and campuses, houses of worship, nature or activity centers and organizational headquarters. They must be located in West Cook County.

Deadline for 2020 grant applications is March 15, 2020. We anticipate announcement of awards by April 15, 2020. Click here: Application

Questions? Email [email protected]. Please use the subject line: Garden for Nature Grant Program


Hands-on Workshop: Eco-sensitive garden clean-up

This event has ended
Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
to (Central Time)

By now, you may have heard about the impact garden clean-up can have on our wildlife such as birds, native bees, butterflies, moths, and fireflies. For many people, switching from the conventional clean-up where all plant material is removed to one where less is removed can be difficult. The goal of this workshop is to review why it's important to think ecologically during clean-up and then to demonstrate how to do clean-up so that we keep as much biodiversity as possible in the garden. 

We will meet at Yellow Compound and work on their garden there. It will not be heavy labor. Please bring gloves and gardening shears. 

Please RSVP for this event at Eventbrite. Registration is limited to 15 people. 

April 2020


The Naturally Beautiful Conference with Doug Tallamy

This event has ended
Saturday, April 4th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Oak Park Unity Temple, 875 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL, 60301 Map

Postponed: Naturally Beautiful Conference featuring Doug Tallamy
We’re very disappointed to cancel our April 4 date at Unity Temple for the Naturally Beautiful Conference featuring Doug Tallamy. It’s become necessary in order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We hope to offer you a chance to hear and meet Doug at a rescheduled conference later this year. In the meantime, as we adapt to this new environment for public gatherings, we will plan exciting events to bring to you virtually. Stay tuned!

Eventbrite will issue refunds for your ticket price, not including fees, in coming days. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we begin this process.

Also, watch for announcements about our annual native plant sale June 6. Online orders will be accepted starting March 23.

We hope you will stay healthy and take time to get out and enjoy spring in your garden and in our natural areas with your family and friends.

 Learn why and how you are "nature's best hope." Be a catalyst for change in your community by learning how to bring biodiversity back.

Sponsored by Wild Ones West Cook and Unity Temple Environmental Justice Team
While the headlines about our planet’s declining biodiversity are bleak, we humans have the power and knowledge to be nature’s best hope. We just need to realize it, learn the steps, and act. On April 4, our conference will present national and local experts who will show how ordinary people can heal nature while bringing beauty to our communities. Register at Eventbrite.


12:45--Doors open

1:15-2:15 --"Building Neighborhood Ecosystems" by Annamaria Leon and Ken Williams


2:30-4:00--"Nature's Best Hope" by Doug Tallamy

4:00-4:30--Book signing

Opening presentation, begins at 1:15
Building Neighborhood Ecosystems

Presented by Ken Williams and Annamaria Leon

Land is precious and can provide limitless bounty. Today, residential land is used primarily for ornamentation. There is a pressing need to change this, for beautiful residential properties to feed all neighbors: the soil microbes, birds, butterflies, and humans. Community gardening is a proven model for affordably accomplishing this. Experience community gardens that reintroduce neighborhoods to the webwork of life by blending permaculture with native plants and ecological landscaping.


Horticulturist Ken Williams has drilled oil wells, restored prairies, and done a lot of what lies between. A lifelong vegetable gardener with a love for natural history and native plants, horticulture became his life while working for 16 years at a small town city park and zoo in Kansas. For the past 11 years he has participated in the ecological landscape movement in the Chicago area seeking ways to spread the wealth. You can follow Ken on Instagram @ kenzhort.

Annamaria Leon is Co-Owner of Homan Grown, L3C, a social enterprise focused on propagating urban durable perennials, and on creating regenerative edible and ornamental landscapes. A certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher, she is Co-Founder of the Permaculture Chicago Teaching Institute, located in Chicago's Westside North Lawndale neighborhood. Annamaria focuses her community organizing efforts through projects that reflect her love of greening and beautification.

Break: 2:15-2:30

Keynote address, begins at 2:30
Nature’s Best Hope: Creating Sustainable Ecosystems in Home Landscapes

Doug Tallamy returns to the Chicago area!

Presentation description:

Recent headlines about global insect declines, the impending extinction of one million species worldwide, and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can- and must- take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.

We will have his NEW book available for purchase at the conference: Nature’s Best Hope: Creating Sustainable Ecosystems in Home Landscapes.

About Doug Tallamy:

His work has been a catalyst for change at the grass-roots level and has helped us form the principles that guide how we treat our landscapes and prepare the ground (literally!) for future generations. He has taught us that without native plants, there is little biodiversity, which humans as a species need to survive. As he puts it, “Biodiversity is not optional.” He is also an Honorary Director for the national Wild Ones.

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 95 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug's new book Nature's Best Hope was released by Timber Press in February 2020. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, the 2018 AHS B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and the 2019 Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award.


Sponsored by Wild Ones West Cook, Environmental Justice Team of Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and PlanItGreen

Other helpful information:

Please plan to eat before you come to the conference. We will serve light refreshments during a break; there are very limited dining options nearby.

Parking can be challenging around Unity Temple. Public transportation (CTA, green line, Oak Park Avenue stop) is very close by, within 1/3 mile. There is a parking garage at Oak Park Avenue and North Boulevard, also within a 1/3 mile walk to Unity Temple. Bike parking next to church.

If you select the ticket option with a membership, please let us know your address, so you will receive materials from National Wild Ones.

Ticket price day-of conference will increase to $20 for members and $30 for non-members.

Check-in begins at 12:45 PM. Ken and Annamaria will begin speaking at 1:15 PM.

Featured image: Cassandra West

May 2020


Creating Butterfly Habitats: Through the Seasons

This event has ended
Sunday, May 17th, 2020
to (Central Time)

Creating Butterfly Habitats: Through the Seasons

Will be presented via Zoom

Butterflies add extra beauty and interest to the garden. They are not only beautiful but incredibly fascinating and complex animals. There is more than meets the eye with them.

From this presentation, the general gardener will learn how to create habitat gardens for some of the area's butterflies who need year-round homes to complete their life cycles. Participants will not only learn the basic requirements and essential practices for butterfly gardens, they will also learn about the diversity of local butterfly species, some species-specific behaviors, and how they complete their life cycles.

Presented by Stephanie Walquist, who has been gardening for and observing butterflies for over 15 years. She has raised multiple species of butterflies which has given her a depth of understanding that goes beyond watching the adults in the garden. Her interest in butterflies naturally brought her into the world of native plants, which led her to co-founding the West Cook chapter of Wild Ones.

Register through Eventbrite: Creating Butterfly Habitats

June 2020


Native Bees in the Garden

This event has ended
Sunday, June 14th, 2020
to (Central Time)

About this Event

Adrian Ayres Fisher will discuss the importance of native bees in the garden. Native bee populations have declined steeply due to habitat reduction and competition from honey bees. Ms. Fisher will tell us about their life cycles and their importance in pollinating plants. She will also discuss plants and practices that can make your garden a habitat for native bees.

Ms. Fisher is currently the Sustainability Coordinator for Triton College. She volunteers with the Forest Preserve of Cook County and recently completed training to become a Forest Preserve Site Steward. Ms. Fisher is an avid native plant gardener whose garden has been featured in garden walks. She also recently joined the Board of West Cook Wild Ones. Ms Fisher blogs at and you can follow her on Facebook at Ecological Gardening.

Register at Eventbrite

After you register, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. On the morning of the presentation, you will receive a reminder e-mail accompanied by a link to access the program.

July 2020


Monty and Rose Film Viewing

This event has ended
Sunday, July 19th, 2020
to (Central Time)

Join us as we watch a film that captures the nerve-wracking journey of two Piping Plovers' nesting success on a busy Chicago beach. Last year, Monty and Rose enthralled local birders and the wider public with their nest and chicks on a Chicago beach. After viewing, filmmaker Bob Dolgan will be with us to answer questions and give an update on the pair who have returned to Chicago to nest again. The event will be held online.

About "Monty and Rose":

​"Monty and Rose" tells the story of a pair of endangered piping plovers that successfully nested at Chicago's Montrose Beach in the summer of 2019, the first of the species to nest in Chicago in 64 years. The short, independent documentary chronicles these special birds and an unpredictable series of events including a proposed music festival that propelled the birds to national headlines. "Monty and Rose" features interviews with an array of key players in the story, including biologists, birders, volunteers and the advocates who spoke out when the music festival was proposed. "Monty and Rose" is an independent project, funded through the generous support of backers on Kickstarter. Partners in the project include Turnstone Strategies, Wenkus Productions, Free Spirit Media (Pat Nabong) and Eileen Wagner Design. Music is by local indie favorites Congress of Starlings. "Monty and Rose" was released in November 2019. You can learn more at the Monty and Rose website.

About the filmmaker:

Bob Dolgan is the founder of Turnstone Strategies, a marketing/communications firm with specialties in strategic planning, storytelling, content development and public relations. He has 20 years of experience in journalism, marketing and nonprofit management. A lifelong birder, Bob initiated the "Monty and Rose" documentary project as a volunteer for the Plover Watch effort at Montrose Beach in the summer of 2019.


You will be sent a link to participate in the viewing and post-viewing discussion a couple of days before the event and again on the day of the event. Register here: Monty and Rose 

August 2020


Dragonflies and Damselflies: Frequent Fliers of the Wild Garden

This event has ended
Sunday, August 16th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Location - TBA, Oak Park, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Learn about the fascinating lives of dragonflies and damselflies with Cindy Crosby

About this Event

Shimmering dragonflies and damselflies capture our imagination as they zoom through the air or alight briefly on a nearby plant. Please join us for an afternoon with Cindy Crosby who will tell us about the lives of these mysterious creatures. This event will be a webinar.

Please register at Eventbrite. Registration is free but required in order to get the video link, which will be e-mailed to you two days in advance of and again 2 hours before the event.

Cindy Crosby's Program Description

Few insects are as fascinating as Illinois's dragonflies and damselflies. From their unusual life cycle of transformation, their bizarre sex life, mystifying migratory habits, and their struggle for survival, there is plenty to discover and marvel about! Hear the cultural history of dragonflies, including some of the myths and superstitions that surround them. Be amazed at their natural history as you see beautiful close-up images of different species that are found in the Chicago Region. Then, learn how you can become involved in caring for these remarkable flying creature through making your backyard more dragonfly-friendly.

Register at Eventbrite

About The Speaker

Cindy Crosby is the author, compiler or contributor to more than 20 books. Her newest book is Chasing Dragonflies: A Natural, Cultural, and Personal History (Northwestern University Press, June 2020) with illustrations by Peggy Macnamara. Cindy coordinates dragonfly monitoring programs at Nachusa Grasslands, a Nature Conservancy site, and The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. She is also author of the recent full-color book of photographs and essays "Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit" with co-author Thomas Dean (2019) and the author of "The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction" (Northwestern University Press, 2017). Cindy earned her master’s degree in natural resources from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Cindy is a Wild One, Master Gardener, and a natural history instructor for the Illinois Master Naturalist’s program. She is a former wilderness ranger with the National Park Service and a current steward supervisor for the Schulenberg Prairie at The Morton Arboretum and a steward at Nachusa Grasslands, a Nature Conservancy site with bison in Franklin Grove, IL. When she's not out working in her garden, chasing dragonflies or kayaking Illinois’ rivers, she speaks and teaches on natural history topics in the Chicago region. Cindy blogs each week at "Tuesdays in the Tallgrass," and you can find her classes and events at

September 2020


Duneslands of Illinois - Rare, Hardy, and Threatened

This event has ended
Sunday, September 20th, 2020
to (Central Time)
Location - TBA, Oak Park, Oak Park, IL, 60302 Map

Lithospermum incisum

Illinois' duneslands are the geologically youngest natural areas in our region. They are also under intense pressure from development as well as erosion. However, a high percentage of the native species in our state live in these unique natural areas. Kathleen will highlight both the ubiquitous and the rare, describing the adaptations and faunal relationships that have allowed plants to survive in such a harsh environment. This is an online presentation. Free registration.

Kathleen Marie Garness is an artist certified by Morton Arboretum in botanical and scientific illustration. A steward of one of the Chicago region's highest quality duneland sites, she is author of the Field Museums’ "Dunesland Habitat Guide" and "Common Plant Families of the Chicago Region."  Her participation in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plants of Concern program has spurred Kathleen’s  interest in the tension among the lure of the beautiful, wildlife under pressure, and the demands of human need. She has worked with the Field Museum and The Nature Conservancy to produce educational materials for the growing community of natural areas restoration volunteers.
Free Registration

October 2020


Membership Meeting

This event has ended
Sunday, October 18th, 2020
to (Central Time)
To be advised, Oak Park, Oak Park Map

Zoom Membership Meeting
Hello friends!

We thought it would be nice to have an informal Zoom meeting where there is an opportunity for us to connect and check-in with each other as well as chat about native plants and our gardens.

We can use this opportunity to share successes and learning (aka failures). Add your pictures to our slides (see Registration page for link), and we can share them at the meeting.

Members of the Board will be available to answer any questions about what we've done or will be doing.

Please register for your free tickets. Registration is required, and you will receive information on joining the Zoom meeting after registration. 

November 2020


Mosses of the Chicago Region

This event has ended
Sunday, November 15th, 2020
to (Central Time)
To be advised, Oak Park, Oak Park Map

Online Meeting: Free registration required
Can you guess how many species of moss are found in the Chicago region? Can you name one? 

The moss flora of the Chicago region is understudied, and the research across the region is difficult to trace. Join Edward Warden for a virtual walk through our current knowledge of moss diversity in the region utilizing a century of literature and herbarium records. Afterwards, we'll discuss what steps can be taken next to begin filling in the knowledge gaps and how to encourage the tiny flora to grow at home.

Edward Warden is a lifelong Chicago resident and urban naturalist. He works across the Chicago region to foster community around and appreciation for the urban environment through the use of stewardship, social media, and interpretive techniques. He is currently a Conservation Stewardship Coordinator at the John G. Shedd Aquarium and serves as President of the Chicago Ornithological Society. When not looking to the sky, he's busy holding everyone up because he really needs to stop to check out and ID this cool moss. Edward blogs at:

Register on Eventbrite.