Featured Event! Neighborspace Howard Area Community Garden Workday, 5/19, 9AM

Explore Urban Agriculture
Neighborspace Howard Area Community Garden Workday
Saturday, May 19th
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
1715 W. Juneway Terrace
Join volunteers from Neighborspace, Openlands, and Chicago Cares for an exciting workday at this Rogers Park community garden, one of the oldest commmunity gardens in the city.
There are 50 vegetable plots housed in this garden and maintained by local gardeners.  They need help preparing vegetable beds, fixing a fallen fence, mulching pathways, turning compost and other garden-related tasks.  Gloves and tools are provided, however bringing your own tools would also be helpful (be sure to put your name on your items).  Bring snacks and water and wear clothes that can get dirty.

Chicago River Day 20/20 still has many events before River Day!

Twenty years ago, Friends of the Chicago River started Chicago River Day with 25 volunteers who dragged shopping carts, mattresses, and plastic bags from its banks. Today, this inspiring event has grown to 4,000 volunteers at 65 locations along the Chicago River.

Celebrate this amazing milestone through Chicago River Day 20/20 – 20 days of events and activities that commemorate this milestone and get people involved. There is something for everyone so scroll through the calendar on the website and see what you can do.  Events include lectures, tree planting, tours and, of course, Chicago River Day.

Earth Day is Just Around the Corner, but You Can Celebrate Every Day

Celebrate Earth Day by attending one of the many upcoming stewardship events coming up soon!   Can’t make it?  Check out our Event Calendar, which will be updated with exciting opportunities from stewardship events to festivals and everything in between to celebrate Earth Day all year long.


Explore Stewardship Across Chicago
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to get outside and clean up Chicago?  Events occur all month long. Register, if requested, with the event host and send any questions to the event contact.  Most sites offer gloves, bags and other necessary materials.  Please bring your own snacks and water bottle.  Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and activity.  Comfortable shoes that can get dirty are recommended.  All events are kid-friendly – feel free to bring the whole family!


Saturday, April 21st
9 a.m. – Noon
Locations Across Chicago
Register at the website.
Saturday, April 21st
10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Humboldt Park & Little Village
Saturday, April 21st
9 a.m. – Noon
5531 S. King
Contact wpconservancy@gmail.com
Saturday, April 21st
Times Vary
Locations Across Chicago
Contact 311 to Register


Saturday, April 28th
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Halsted and 144th
Contact Eileen at 773-238-4221
Saturday, April 28th
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
4055 N. Kenmore
Contact adelorenzo@chicagocares.org
Saturday, April 28th
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
6401 N. Stony Island
Contact Jerry at 773-955-6384

Chicago Community Climate Action Toolkit from the Field Museum

Over the past two years, ECCo (Environment, Culture, and Conservation,  a division of the Field museum) staff have been working with partner organizations in four neighborhoods–Forest Glen, Bronzeville, South Chicago, and Pilsen–and across the Chicago Region (including us!) to turn their research on community assets into local projects and tools for education and action that relate climate change to our region and our lives.

They are pleased to announce the launch of climatechicago.fieldmuseum.org!

The website offers a range of multimedia tools to help others start local climate action projects that improve quality of life and address climate change at the same time. Tools are available in English and Spanish. They include:

●     video documentaries on community projects

●     a primer on climate change and its impacts on the Chicago region

●     a climate action comic book

●     a guide to climate-friendly food

●     action strategies for helping the region’s plants and wildlife adapt to climate change

●     educational videos

The Chicago Conservation Corps Six-Year Report

Check out the Chicago Conservation Corps’ six-year report here. We have come a long way since 2006 and we want to share the memories and impacts with you.

It has been an amazing 6 years and we look forward to many more years of grassroots community development and environmental stewardship throughout Chicago.

Want to join our environmental leadership network? There is still space available for our Spring 2012 Environmental Leadership Training Series. During the training, you’ll learn from community and environmental leaders about urban environmental challenges and opportunities for change; then you’ll lead an environmental service project in your community with C3 support and resources.

To apply for the C3 Leadership Training Series, you must be a City of Chicago resident and attend one orientation. The Spring 2012 training will be held at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd, on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. on April 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. Attend an orientation in April to learn more.

  • Tuesday, April 10, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N Sacramento Blvd
  • Wednesday, April 11, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., City Hall, 121 N La Salle St
  • Thursday, April 12, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., Washington Park Fieldhouse, 5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr.

To sign up for an orientation or for more information, visit www.conservationcorps.org or contact C3 at (312) 743-9283 or conservation@cityofchicago.org. A $75 fee covers course participation and project support. Financial assistance is available upon request.

We are now accepting applications! www.surveymonkey.com/spring2012leaderapplication Remember that you must also attend an orientation listed above to participate.

Are you a teacher or know a teacher at a CPS School?  Then consider our Student Clubs program!

Club projects include recycling, worm composting, water conservation, and anti-idling campaigns. Teachers involved receive a stipend, materials, project guides, training and other resources.  Learn more about the program here.

Attend one of the orientation dates below to learn more:

Tuesday, April 10th
Chicago Center for Green Technology
445 N. Sacramento Blvd (near Sacramento and Lake)
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Accessible by #94 bus; near California Green Line.
Parking in back lot.
Wednesday, April 11th
Amundsen High School
5110 N. Damen (near Damen and Foster), Room 321
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Accessible by buses #92 and #50; near Damen Brown Line.
Parking in back lot.
Thursday, April 12th
University of Chicago Lab Schools
5823 S. Kenwood Ave., Sunny Gym
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Metra Electric Line
Parking available.

For questions or to reserve a seat, please contact (312) 743-9283 or conservation@cityofchicago.org.

To apply you must be a Chicago Public School teacher (6th – 12th grades) and attend an orientation.  If you are accepted into the program, you must attend three workshops in the 2012-2013 school year, held on Tuesday evenings at the Chicago Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento Blvd, Chicago, IL 60612.

We hope you will join us!

Conservation is #SoSimple

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from www.letUbeU.com

The word ‘conservation’ can be confusing. It is defined as the prevention of injury or waste. When we refer to conservation from an environmental viewpoint, we are talking about not injuring animals & insects and their homes, and not wasting natural resources–energy, land, and water.

Conservation is #sosimple

Informally I’ve asked “What is conservation?” to scientists, conservationists, and those who have no interest in the topic. There is a general theme that appears–taking care of our planet–but the answers are all different, which makes me think the topic of ‘conservation’ is confusing to everyday people. So I’m here to make it simple for you. As a volunteer with the Chicago Conservation Corps, I’ve learned that if conservation is anything, it is


Think: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We’ll show you 3 #sosimple ways for each. Conservation can take place at home with many simple actions. At the bottom there is a checklist to save or print and post on your wall as a reminder that conservation is #sosimple. Pass this on to your friends & family as well. Thank you.


  1. water consumption by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving.
  2. waste by purchasing a reusable grocery bag.
  3. energy consumption by turning off the light in a room you’re not using.


  1. dryer sheets with 20 uses for a used dryer sheet.
  2. drink containers. Buy a reuseable water bottle or coffee mug to bring to work or refill at Starbucks.
  3. somebody’s previous belongings by shopping at a thrift store (Brown Elephant or Salvation Army in Chicago).


conservation is #sosimple

  1. all plastic, but NOT #6. Look on the container and bag for the symbol (right).
  2. junk mail.
  3. wine bottles & beer cans.

A tweetable definition of ‘conservation:

Conservation is improving our quality of life for the future by living in collaboration with nature

Please print or save the JPEG below as a reminder. Thank you for reading.

Conservation in Chicago

Chicago Park District Rainbow Beach Workday, 3/24, 10AM

Explore Dune Restoration

Chicago Park District Rainbow Beach Workday

Saturday, March 24th

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Note New Time)

77th St. and the Lake (Meet at the entrance to the Nature Area, southeast end of the beach.)

Contact the steward at alison.anastasio@gmail.com for more information or to register.

In the mid 1990s, beach ridges began to form naturally in the eastern section of Rainbow Beach. Soon, dune species began to colonize the newly formed beach ridges. Recognizing the site’s potential to form a natural dune ecosystem, the Chicago Park District installed protective fencing in 2001 to protect this developing nature area from excessive foot traffic. Attend this workday (the first one of the year!) and help this unique and young habitat thrive.  Please dress for the weather and bring water. Gloves and other materials will be provided.

Restoration Workday at North Park Village Nature Center, 3/18, 9AM

Explore Garden Stewardship

Restoration Workday at North Park Village Nature Center

Sunday, March 18th

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

5801 N. Pulaski

No registration necessary. Call 312-744-5472 for more information.

Enjoy a day in the woods of the North Park Village.  Help remove invasive plants like buckthorn; plant and/or remove trees; and learn about native landscapes.  Tools, gloves, and refreshments will be provided.  Be sure to check out the Nature Center after the workday for kid-friendly activities and educational information.

Spring Public Workshop for the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor Grant Program, 3/13, 7PM

Want to help manage stormwater and prevent flooding in Logan Square? Interested in making green improvements to your property, no matter where you live?  Join us at the first public workshop for the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor grant program!


March 13, 2012, 7–9 pm
Hairpin Lofts, Logan Square Arts Center 2800 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago

Learn how the grant program works and get free consultation from design professionals on the kinds of projects – a green roof, rain garden, permeable paving – that make sense for your home or business.  Check to see if your property is in the corridor at www.logansquareh2o.org.

Why should you come?

  • Learn about the Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor grant program
  • Learn about stormwater management and green infrastructure
  • Learn about other City of Chicago programs you can use
  • Get free design ideas for green infrastructure projects on your property
  • Have fun and meet your neighbors!

What should you bring?

Please bring aerial photos, blueprints or other schematics of your property to discuss with our designers.  Aerial images printed from Google Earth, Google Maps, or something comparable are sufficient.

Questions? Contact Josh Ellis at jellis@metroplanning.org

This workshop is free and open to the public, and no matter where your property is, you can benefit from attending.  Please note, however, only properties within the designated corridor are eligible for grant funding through this program. To be eligible for a grant, applicants must attend a program workshop, which will take place every three months, or until all grant funds have been awarded.  Additional workshops will occur at the same time and place on June 12 and Sept. 11.

The event is free, but please register.

Celebrate the Accomplishments of the Chicago Conservation Corps

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from www.letUbeU.com

Chicago Conservation Corps

The Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) has put together an impressive resume of accomplishments over the past 5+ years. In case you are new to C3, we are a group of over 400 volunteers and teachers (with 3 staff members to facilitate) who recruit and train more volunteers to organize environmentally-friendly projects around Chicago’s 50 wards.

Chicago Conservation Corps

Our projects consist of cleaning neighborhoods & forest preserves, organizing workshops that teach citizens how they can save money by reducing water and electricity consumption, and educating & inspiring Chicago Public School students to be leaders in the conservation movement in Chicago. We also have a Speakers Bureau which provides businesses and organizations with C3 Leaders who provide inspiration and resources to make your event more eco-friendly.

Chicago Conservation Corps

To date, our volunteer’s actions have provided many benefits to the city of Chicago. Please celebrate with C3 and show you care for the environment by following us on Twitter (@ChiConservation) or Facebook (Chicago Conservation Corps) and sharing some of our accomplishments below. To date:

  • 401 projects since 2006 throughout the city
  • Currently 83 active clubs in CPS schools
  • 1,500 students engaged in the program per year
  • 6,903 weatherization kits (for reducing heat loss in homes) installed in 2011-2012 heating season
  • Nearly 125,000 community members impacted by C3 projects
  • 9.4 million pounds of waste diverted from landfills
  • Nearly 300 acres improved through clean-ups and plantings

Thank you for reading. Remember, this is for your, my, and our children’s

Chicago Conservation Corps

All photographs were taken from The Field Museum’s exhibit: The Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth

How To Save Water & Save Money

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from www.letUbeU.com

Chicagoans are fortunate to have a large source of fresh water as our neighbor. Over 5.4 million people—44% of the Illinois population—depend on the Chicago Department of Water Management to provide a reliable supply of drinking water from Lake Michigan. Chicago is working hard to avoid situations similar to what is happening to the Colorado River and Aral Sea in Russia where the fresh water supply is being depleted.

Water conservation Chicago

To avoid a similar situation, Chicago is preparing by providing citizens with convenient options to conserve water. MeterSave is a new program offered by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM). Non-metered Chicago homeowners can volunteer to have a water meter installed. Water meters help to save water and save money.

In Chicago, water charges in non-metered homes are tied to factors such as building size, lot-size and the number of plumbing fixtures. However, metered homes are billed according to actual water usage. This means that with minimal effort, participating homeowners could save money on their water bills.

Signing up is completely FREE. The DWM will install your water meter, free of charge, and a wireless radio technology will report your water usage to the DWM. There are 3 ways to sign up:

  1. Visit www.metersave.org
  2. Call 311
  3. Call 312-744-4H2O

ALSO, by signing up for a Water Meter, you will qualify for one of these additional incentives (while supplies last):

A rain barrel – for more details: rain barrels

or An outdoor water conservation kit

  • A hose timer
  • Rain guage
  • Water restricting hose nozzle
  • Moisture sensor

or An indoor water conservation kit

  • Low flow shower head
  • A shower timer
  • Toilet flapper
  • Leak Detection Tablets
  • Toilet tank bank–a toilet tank water displacement pouch
  • 4-quart fill cycle diverter that helps save water after flushing the toilet
  • Swivel low-flow kitchen aerator
  • Two bathroon sink aerators
  • Teflon tape
  • Water Conservation wheel

or A water meter monitor (a refrigerator magnet that shows water usage)

Watch this video to learn more about the MeterSave program:

MeterSave video

Testimonials about the program: Neighborhood Testimonials

Our previous post: Indoor Water Conservation Tips

Dirty Hands at Working Bikes Cooperative

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom from www.letUbeU.com

Working Bikes Cooperative is a non-profit organization in Chicago devoted to the motto: Reduce Reuse Recycle. They collect neglected bikes and tune them up to reuse & sell. The revenue is used to ship the remaining bikes to different corners of planet earth so that a poor person in Tanzania, Guatemala, or Peru can get to work and make money to feed his family.

Stored in a warehouse, they appear as a sea of bikes. There are old bikes, and older bikes. Rusty bikes, and dirty bikes. Bikes without wheels, and bikes with banana seats. Some bikes are blue, others have a white basket. Everywhere you look…bikes, bikes, bikes.

On Tuesday January 31, two trainees with the Chicago Conservation Corps (myself & Ben) attended Volunteer Night, which happens every Tuesday night. We immediately noticed the benefits of volunteering at Working Bikes, including:

Chicago Conservation1. Free food

2. Learning the skills to fix my own bike

3. Finding inspiration from the numerous posters (left)

Ben and I removed axels from tires for 2 hours while other volunteers fixed chains, polished metal, and attached pedals. All of these bikes are on their way to helping a good cause. Unfortunately, the demand for bikes is much higher than the rate at which they can be repaired, so volunteers are in high demand. Volunteering is simple. Go to the store or call during business hours and notify a staff member that you wish to lend a helping hand.

We want to warn you though, being kind can sometimes be dirty. Bike repair is accompanied by oil & grease, so wear appropriate clothing and prepare for dirty hands. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, Reduce Reuse Recycle.

Conservation is simple

How To Make Air-friendly Cleaning Products

air-friendly cleaning products

We are in the heart of winter, and most likely, your windows are closed and fresh air is at a premium. So don’t pollute the air in your home with cleaning products that contain hazardous chemicals and volatile organic compounds. We will make it easy for you to find another option. Here is a recipe for making your own air-friendly cleaning products. A friendly mixture of science, conservation, and cooking skills.

Basic All-Purpose Cleaner Formula

1/2 teaspoon baking soda or 2 teaspoons borax

1/2 teaspoon liquid soap detergent

2 cups hot water

spray bottle

Combine everything into the spray bottle and shake to blend.

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from www.letUbeU.com

C3 Leader, Amy Talbot leads a Winter Wonderland Energy Savings Workshop, February 25th, 1PM

Explore Energy Savings

C3 Leader, Amy Talbot leads a Winter Wonderland Energy Savings Workshop

Saturday, February 25th

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA), Community Room

2520 S. Western Ave.

Contact winterenergyc3@gmail.com to register.

Join Amy and her C3 team to hear about actions you can take to not only help the environment but also save money. Workshop topics include properly caring for outdoors plants in the winter; improving your snow salting techniques with the right products and methods; installing high efficiency showerheads to save on water and energy costs; replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs; and changing furnace filters to improve air quality and save money on energy costs. The first 40 families to arrive will receive energy saving kits and additional items will be raffled off at the close of the workshop. Lunch will be provided and Spanish language translation will be available.

C3 Leader, Stephanie Douglass leads Adventures in Green Cleaning, February 22nd, 5PM

Explore Green Cleaning

C3 Leader, Stephanie Douglass leads Adventures in Green Cleaning

Wednesday, February 22nd

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Uncommon Ground

1401 W. Devon Ave

For more information, contact 260-ALL-GROW.

Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.  Come learn the best ways to prepare non-toxic cleaning solutions for your home at America’s Greenest Restaurant. Lessons on air issues affecting our health and green cleaning supplies are provided.  There will also be raffles, dinner discounts, and lots of recipe resources.

Working Bikes Cooperative Volunteer Night, Jan 31st, 5PM

Explore Bike Maintenance

Tuesday, January 31st

5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Working Bikes, 2434 S. Western Ave

No registration necessary.  For more information, contact volunteer@workingbikes.org.

Come out and learn about bike maintenance at Working Bikes, a local non-profit that diverts bicycles from the waste stream by repairing them for sale and charity.  Have a fun-filled night and learn how to keep any bike running smoothly.

Featured Event! Friends of the Parks MLK Jr. Service Day at Whistler Woods, Jan 16th, 9AM

Explore Outdoor Stewardship

Monday, January 16th

Whistler Woods, S Halsted St & W 134th St.

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

RSVP to Mary Eileen Sullivan at sullivanme@fotp.org.

Join Friends of the Parks and Calumet Is My Backyard (C.I.M.B.Y.) at Whistler Woods to celebrate Martin Luther King Day by providing stewardship work.  Volunteers will be doing various outdoor stewardship activities to restore the woods.  Dress in layers and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

How To Promote Healthy Lungs & Clean Air – Turn Off Your Car

Most of us are guilty of leaving our car running while we sit and wait, and wait, and wait. Sometimes we’re waiting for a friend while parked in front of their apartment, other times we quickly run into a bank or coffee shop. What you may not know is that idling your car engine wastes fuel, creates extra air pollution, and contributes to global warming. We would like to share with you a few facts & tips from the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago about idling your car engine:

  1. Idling more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
  2. Idling 2 minutes uses the same amount of fuel as driving 1 mile.
  3. The best way to warm up a vehicle in cold Chicago weather is to drive it.
  4. Excessive idling can damage your engine. Idling partially burns fuel, which can cause residue build-up and can increase fuel consumption.

The road to becoming a more environmentally conscience individual starts with baby steps.  Please turn off your car. Thanks for reading!

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from www.letUbeU.com