Sustainable Backyards Workshop, 3/27, 6 PM

Explore Stormwater Management

Sustainable Backyards Workshop

Tuesday, March 27th

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Chicago Center for Green Technology

445 N. Sacramento Blvd.

Register or learn more at or call 312-746-9642

Learn how to make your back, front or side yard more environmentally sustainable. This workshop will cover the basics of installing a rain barrel, setting up a compost bin, planting a tree and more. Spring is a great time to plant a native garden and trees in your yard. You will also learn about the City’s rebate program and how Chicago residents can receive up to 50% off of their next tree, native plant, rain barrel or compost bin purchase.

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 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.

C3 Leader, Stephanie’s Wet ‘n Wild Chicago Water Workshop, 3/13, 5PM

Explore Water Conservation

C3 Leader, Stephanie Douglass hosts a Free Wet ‘n Wild Chicago Water Workshop

Tuesday, March 13th

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Uncommon Ground

1401 W. Devon Ave.

To register or learn more call 260-ALL-GROW

Why does your basement smell when it floods?  Should you drink hot water from the tap?  How do all those green roofs affect driving conditions after a storm?  Get some answers and learn easy and fun ways to conserve water in your home.  Materials, raffle, and food discount provided.

How To Save Water & Save Money

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from

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
  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

Indoor Water Conservation Tips

indoor water conservation

Chicagoans love Lake Michigan–fresh water for drinking, swimming, and washing dishes. It provides Chicagoland with water for 42 million people. We are tempted to take our water resource for granted but let’s not forget that 25% of the world’s population has no access to potable water. As Chicagoans it is our job to prevent an outcome similar to what happened in the Aral Sea or what is occurring to the Colorado River.  So, here are simple water conservation tips for you to keep in mind while indoors this winter season:

  1. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving
  2. Use a dishwasher; it uses less water than washing dishes by hand
  3. Run your washing machine or dishwasher ONLY when full
  4. Install a water saving (low-flow) shower head. Purchase one online, here: Shower heads
  5. Fix leaky toilets. Sometimes leaks are unoticeable. To test for leaks, put food coloring in the toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
  6. Fix leaky faucets. Keep in mind:
  • 60 drops per minute = 192 gallons of wasted water per month
  • 90 drops per minute = 310 gallons of wasted water per month

Remember, the road to protecting our future and becoming a more environmentally conscience individual starts with baby steps. Thank you for reading!

Content Creator: C3 Trainee Tom from

Join C3 trainee Rob West for a Greening Your Bathroom Workshop, Dec 11th, 10am

Free Class: Save $ by Greening Your Bathroom
When: Sunday, December 11, 10am-Noon
Where: 1102 N. California ave. Chicago
More Info: 773-290-8232, 773-640-7083

RSVP on Facebook

You’re invited to a free home plumbing class, this Sunday at 10am in Humboldt Park.  This class series, “Green Plumbing 101″, is sponsored by the Chicago Conservation Corps.  Each month, there will be a focus on an area in the home, teaching individuals how to save money and our environment by conserving water and power. All classes are led by Rob West, Master Plumber.

This December Green Plumbing 101 class will teach you how to save money on your water bill by installing easy and affordable retrofits for your bathroom that can save a single household up to 100 gallons a day. He will also demonstrate affordable tools that residents can use to clear clogged drains without using toxic chemicals (or plumbers!).

Join C3 Trainee Rob for a Class on Rain Barrels, Nov 13th, 10 a.m.

C3 Trainee and Plumbing Expert, Rob West, invites you to a FREE class on Rain Barrels this Sunday, November 13th, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 1102 N. California, Chicago, IL, 60622.

Activities include:  Hands-on demonstration of how to build a custom rain barrel from a recycled pickle barrel.

Topics will cover the general concepts you will need to design and manage a rain collection system that fits your buildings specific needs:

-Materials and tools you will need to install a complete rain barrel system for any structure (with a roof!)

-Where to source recycled materials for rain barrels and other parts

-Winter proofing your rain barrels

-Water management for your yard and garden

-Managing overflow

This will be an audience participation class so bring photos of your yard and downspouts.  He can also address other topics, such as flood control, plumbing, water and energy conservation, or heating questions.

If you have questions, suggestions, or want to RSVP, please reply to or sign up on Facebook:  Facebook Event Sign up Page
Note: This workshop is not a part of the Chicago Sustainable Backyard Program.

Rain Barrels, Compost Bins, Native Plants -Oh my! Sustainable Backyard Workshop, June 14

Join the City of Chicago Department of Environment for the first installment of the Sustainable Backyard Workshop series highlighting the many ways residents can create more environmentally-friendly landscapes in their back, front, and side yards.

June 14, 2011
28 E. Jackson, Suite 1800
6:00-8:00 pm
RSVP: 312-743-9283 or

Learn more about the program at chicagorainharvesting

Featured Event! NHS Chicago NeighborWorks Day tomorrow. Come out to Humboldt Park for an added bonus- Sustainable Backyard Demos!

Photo courtesy of NHS Chicago

Volunteer for a NeighborWorks Day project on Saturday, June 4!
Join in the fun during NHS’ 24th Annual NeighborWorks Day on Saturday, June 4. Volunteers are needed to paint, plant, clean vacant lots, landscape and garden.

During National NeighborWorks® Week, tens of thousands of volunteers, businesspeople, neighbors and friends will be volunteering across the country in a week of neighborhood change and awareness.

Come on out to the NeighborWorks site near you! Breakfast, lunch and a NeighborWorks t-shirt will be provided. RSVP to Lindsey Hammond or (773) 329-4133

Dreaming for Drake- West Humboldt Park
8:15 AM: 500 and 600 blocks of North Drake Ave. – Volunteers needed to paint porches, perform small repairs, plant vegetable, flowers and bushes, spread mulch and grass seed.

12:30 PM: Attend a Free Sustainable Backyard Workshopat the NHS Chicago WHP Neighborhood Center 3601 W. Chicago Ave. This program offered in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Environment and Chicago Conservation Corps volunteers provides instruction and demonstration on the use of Rain Barrels, Compost Bins, Planting a Rain Garden and more. Prizes & Rebates for up to 50% on Rain Barrels, Compost Bins, Trees and Native Plants will be available.
RSVP for workshop: or 773-329-4127

Living History – North Lawndale- Village West between 3400 & 3500 block W 13th Street near Homan- Beautification and Community Garden Enhancement – North Lawndale is home to more than 20 community gardens. Work will be done in one of the most famous, the African Gardens. Murals and plaques commemorating moments in North Lawndale’s history will be created and installed. Volunteers and residents will paint fencing around Village West Homes and plant flowers and plants around the walkways. There will be a cookout in the African Garden for all the residents and volunteers to celebrate the finished project.

Community Canvas – Back of the Yards/Garfield Boulevards- 2200 to 1700 W. 49th Street- Community Mural – Volunteers from local community organizations and residents will prepare this area for a new community mural. We will prime the surfaces with white primer, clean the debris in front of the wall and replace it with mulch. Murals will be painted during the course of the summer.

Roseland: A Neighborhood in Bloom – Roseland- 0-40 W. 108th street block- Beautification Project -We will work side-by-side with residents to beautify this block. Join us for painting fences and porches, cleaning a vacant lot and planting flowers. Stop by the Open Houses for our newly rehabbed NSP properties on the block.

Block by Block – West Englewood- Resource Fair and Beautification -NHS will host a resource fair and flower planting at a local church within the growing Block Club Network. Join us for planting flowers and small shrubs in the triangles at the corners of each participating block club network and for seniors who need assistance. Help us celebrate two newly formed Block Clubs!

Neighborhoods of Promise: A Showcase of Homes – Chicago Lawn/Gage Park- St. Rita Church 6243 S. Fairfield & St. Mary Star of the Sea Church 6435 S. Kilbourn-These community institutions will hold a “Showcase of Homes” for sale in the neighborhood. There will be opportunities for interested people to visit high quality and affordable homes in a designated area in the parish. Volunteers will help with registration and helping to ensure the event runs smoothly.

Empowering Our Community – Auburn Gresham/Englewood- 449 West 79th Street- Housing Resource Sidewalk Fair -Volunteers are needed to help canvass the neighborhood with information about NeighborWorks Day 2012 and NHS. Everyone is invited to meet the “new” Neighborhood Director! Mini workshops will be offered as well as one-on-one counseling with NHS staff.

Winners of the C3 River Day Challenge Announced

C3 volunteers across the city came out in droves in support of the 19th annual Chicago River Day! Nearly 125 C3 leaders, teachers, students and staff worked on 10 different riverside clean-up locations to demonstrate their dedication to a healthy and functioning river ecosystem.

C3 volunteers from the north and south sides of Chicago organized their regions in a spirited stewardship competition. The region with the greatest C3 representation on River Day will go home the winner. An added bonus, one C3er from each region was entered into a raffle to win a prize generously donated from two local Chicago businesses.

And now, to announce the winners

The winning region of the C3 River Day Challenge is….
THE SOUTH SIDE REGION and all the participants from the following sites:
Origins Park
Riverside Mall
18th Street
Orange Line Ashland stop

The south side winner of the the FREE BIKE TUNE-UP from Blue City Cycles in Bridgeport is C3 leader: WYLANDA HARRIS!

The north side winner of a 50$ gift certificate from Crust Organic Eatery is C3 trainee in the most recent leadership training course: ANNA HUTTEL!


Thank you so much to all who participated in the event! A big thank you to Friends of the Chicago River for hosting a great event! An extra special thanks to Blue City Cycles and Crust Organic Pizzeria for the generous donations.

Chicago River Named the 4th Most Endangered

Repost from Friends of the Chicago River Executive Director Margaret Frisbie.

This morning American Rivers named the Chicago River 4th on its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers because of the continued release of undisinfected sewage effluent from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District’s (MWRD) sewage treatment plants. This archaic practice leaves recreators at risk from human sewage-based pathogens that can cause illness, especially in children.

American Rivers called on the Illinois Pollution Control Board to approve the proposed water quality standards for the Chicago River that have not been reviewed in more than two decades. These standards would require the MWRD to disinfect sewage effluent. Last week, US EPA said many portions of the river could and should be clean enough for swimming.

Find out what you can do to support the river and take action

Partners in Most Endangered River include Friends of the Chicago River, Environmental Law & Policy Center and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Blue City Cycles and Crust Organic Pizzeria Support C3ers on Chicago River Day

We want to give a big shout out to Crust Organic Pizzeria and Blue City Cycles for their support of the C3 River Day Challenge! C3 volunteers and supporters are encouraged to sign for Chicago River Day this Saturday, May 14 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm at riverside locations throughout Chicago.
C3 will be participating at the following sites:
Origins Park
CTA Orange Line
Riverside Mall
18th street
Eugene Park
Fullerton Ave
Lathrop Trail
Berteau Ave
and more!

All participating C3 volunteers will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win some super cool prizes from the local businesses.
North side volunteers could win a gift certificate to Crust in Wicker Park
South side volunteers could win a free bike tune at Blue City Cycles in Bridgeport.
Everybody wins on Chicago River Day. Sign up before it’s too late! If you do sign up, be sure to check in with C3 before so you can get credit for your participation. See you out there!

Raffle winners will be announced Friday, May 20

Featured Event This Weekend at Little Black Pearl

Last week’s blizzard has left everyone drowning in snow. Severe weather can be a stark reminder of the importance of weatherization and winter preparedness. If you have not yet attended a weatherization workshop this year, this may be one of your last opportunities to learn about low-cost weatherization and go home with a free kit to install in your home.

Please join C3 staff and volunteers in partnership with the Little Black Pearl Workshop for this special weatherization workshop.

Advanced RSVP is required

C3 volunteers make a big splash on Adopt-a-Beach Day

C3 Southeast Regional Network Ashe Park Beach Clean Up 9.25.10

On Saturday, September 25, C3 leaders, teachers and students went above and beyond to protect our region’s greatest natural resource; the Great Lakes Basin by participating in the Adopt a Beach Clean Up Day. C3’s partner organization Alliance for the Great Lakes is the local impetus behind the mobilization around International Coastal Clean-Up Network. C3 volunteers could be found on beaches from South Shore to Rogers Park taking water quality samples and collecting garbage and recyclables.

C3 teams hosted the following sites:
Southeast Regional Network: 74th Street Beach
C3 Leader Suzanne Meyering: Howard Beach
C3 Teacher Steve Arnam and the C3 student club at Northside College Prep: Montrose Beach

The Southeast Regional C3 Network
Southeast side C3 leaders joined forces with C3 students and teachers through their participation in C3’s Regional Network initiative. Since August 2010, the Southeast Regional Network has been organizing community members for the Adopt a Beach event as a way to mobilize the community around an identifiable community conservation issues. Their team was made up for C3 leaders from neighborhoods throughout the southeast side and C3 teachers from Neil and Mireles elementary schools. In addition, they were joined by students from Neil Elementary School and the Sea Scouts from the Chicago Yacht Club. Additional support for this event was provided by Ashe Park Advisory Council members and officers, Alderman Sandi Jackson, Alliance For The Great Lakes, C3 Leaders, Calumet Stewardship Initiative (CSI),Subway Catering, Veronica Kyle from Faith In Place, Faye Patterson & Glenn Brooks of the C.A.P.S implementation office, Third District C.A.P.S. office, My Soul Cafe. El Barakah food store.

What are Regional Networks? C3’s Regional Networks are local hubs of C3 volunteers, both leaders and student clubs, that have joined together to address local community conservation initiatives that address regional environmental strengths and challenges. Find out more about how to get involved in the C3 Regional Network in your area.

Explore the Chicago River with the Flatwater Classic

October is nearly here. To us that means one special thing: Friends of the Chicago River Flatwater Classic.

Not familiar with the Flatwater Classic? It is a celebration of our fine river as a place of recreation and habitat for over 70 birds species and 60 fish species. The Chicago River Flatwater Classic is the only canoe and kayak race on the Chicago River where 10 – 12 teams compete for the Voyageur trophy. The race then opens up to hundreds of individual racers and non-competitive participants.

Teams can register with Friends of the Chicago River today

If you are little squeamish about the competition, be sure to register as an event volunteer and spend a great day in the fall sun.

Need more reasons to get out there?

Friends of the Chicago River founded the Flatwater Classic in 2000 to give people a chance to see the Chicago River and learn for themselves why it needs their help. The goal is a clean, accessible river that can be shared by the people, plants, and animals that call our watershed home.

Explore Environmental Stewardship: 9.25 Adopt a Beach Day

Join the Alliance for the Great Lakes for this unique stewardship opportunity. On September 25 from 9am -12pm, volunteers will convene on beach-side locations throughout Chicago to demonstrate their commitment to Great Lakes conservation.

C3 leaders and teacher will be hosting volunteers at two specific sites:

Ashe Park Beach Clean Up
Hosted by the Ashe Park Advisory Council and the C3 Southeast Regional Network
2701 E 74TH ST

Montrose Beach Clean Up
Northside College Prep and the C3 Student Conservation Club
Montrose and Lake Shore Drive

Be sure to register today with the Alliance for the Great Lakes before it’s too late!

C3 Leader Sharon Pincham Spare the Drop Water Conservation Workshop

Join C3 Leader Sharon Pincham for a very special event filled with fun games, prizes and loads of quality environmental education. Attend this workshop and become the lucky winner of a rain barrel, an I-GO care sharing gift certificate and many more. The incentives are endless so what are you waiting for?

Share the Drop Water Conservation Workshop
Saturday, July 24
Taste of Park Manor, 83rd and King Dr

Green Field Day June 11 9:30-12:30 at IIT

Friday, June 11
C3 Trainee, Yvonne White-Morey:
On Track for the Environment –Greening a School Field Day Event

9:30 am -12:30 pm

The 4th Annual Chicago Virtual Charter School Field Day Event will be a lot greener this year as students incorporate green games with track and field events.

Yvonne will coordinate the addition of a Green Resource Center designed to educate students and their families on Recycling/Upcycling options, Vermicomposting, improving indoor/outdoor air quality by making green cleaning solutions and taking alternative transportation, energy efficiency and water conservation. Students will receive refillable water bottles. Families will take the $800 Savings Challenge.

Following awards and raffle prizes, families will gather on the lawn of Illinois Institute of Technology for a picnic lunch and hear a green literacy reading of Seeds of Change by Author Jen Cullerton Johnson, from her book based on the life of Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Four C3 leaders or trainees willing to make ten-minute presentations on the environment to students and families are still needed.) 

For volunteer opportunities, contact C3 trainee Yvonne:

Earth Wine and Fire: Earth Day benefit party Fri April 23

Earth, Wine and Fire is a charity event intended to benefit the environment. It will occur on Friday April 23, 2010, the day after Earth Day, from 5-11PM (a movie screening of No Impact Man starts at 5:00; the party kicks off at 7:00). We expect it to be a fun party hosted by a small group of community folks who banded together to create an enlightened evening with a purpose. We intend to educate, incite action and enjoy. Buy your tickets in advance for a discount. $25 now; $35 on the day of the event. Includes: Entry, 3 tickets that can be used for drinks or the raffle, appetizers, music, entertainment and full access to all Nature Museum exhibits! Additional beverages available for purchase. Children 12 and under are free. Join the party! Buy your tickets at!