Through its Lunch and Learn forums, PlanItGreen covers some of the top sustainability topics of the day. The forums give institutional leaders a chance to engage with subject experts and take away valuable insights and information that can improve their communities.
April was a busy month, with three forums, all held in the conference room of the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, 1049 Lake Street, Oak Park.
Here’s a recap of the April forums:
April 27: Increasing Biking and Walking to School – A “Safe Routes” Model for Oak Park and River Forest
Presenter: Gary Cuneen, Executive Director of Seven Generations Ahead
This was an overview presentation of the “Safe Routes” process model at Holmes Elementary School. The pilot, in conjunction with the Oak Park Pioneering Healthy Communities “Wild About Wellness initiative, PlanItGreen and Seven Generations Ahead, sought to improve children’s travel to and from school. Gary shared the results of a survey that queried families about distance from school and methods of travel to and from. Also shared were insights on walking tours, obstacle identification, policy and built environment recommendations, and communications. Next steps include looking at issues common to multiple schools, having other schools conduct surveys and walking tours, and developing a list of barriers and recommendations before the end of the school year.
April 20: Native Plants for Landscaping and How Your School or Congregation Can Become Part of the “Wild Ones 200” Oak Park-River Forest Native Garden Corridor
Presenter: Pamela Todd, Co-founder, West Cook Wild Ones
Pam explained how Wild Ones is working to create a regional corridor that will attract essential wildlife and pollinators and how institutions can assist in that effort. She discussed the urban benefits of native plants: They cost less than turf, filter pollutants, reduce irrigation and maintenance costs, sequester carbon, support biodiversity health and reduce the impact of climate change. Native plants, she stressed, are valuable in designed landscapes, and they can benefit institutions and the broader community by solving landscaping difficulties and providing beautiful and healthy environments for clients and employees.
Other resources from the presentation included:
Where to Get Native Plants
Full details here: http://westcook.wildones.org/resources/
West Cook Wild Ones Plant Sale
Purchase plants on the day of sale, May 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Euclid Methodist Church, Washington Boulevard and Euclid Avenue, Oak Park.
Put Your Garden on the Map
Add your school, congregation, or home garden on Wild One’s Wildlife Corridor Map. You can link from the homepage of our website: www.westcook.wildones.org. The only required fields are your name, email and address (your name will not be shown on the map). If you can fill out other fields and tell us more about your garden, that’s helpful, too, since the map is one important way we demonstrate progress.
Plant Clover instead of grass
Feed Store, 5408 Harlem Ave. in Summit, sells white clover seed for $5.99 per pound and 3 lbs. will cover an average lawn.
Send an email to if you have questions. Stephanie Walquist has broad experience helping people with school, library and other institutional gardens.
Wild Ones online
Visit www.westcook.wildones.org. You’ll also find links to the WCWO Facebook page and Twitter feed there, so you can keep up with all the information they share.
April 8: Community Supported Agriculture and the Sandhill Family Farms Model
Presenter: Matt Sheaffer, Sandhill Family Farms
Matt talked about the state of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Illinois, how CSA works, and how the CSA model benefits farmers and local sustainable agriculture. He also provides an overview of some of the CSA farms operating in the Chicago metro area including a discussion of the Sandhill Family Farms model and how to connect to local CSA models. Read more about Sheaffer’s presentation and Sandfill Family Farms elsewhere on SGA’s website.
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