Are you aiming to improve the curb appeal of your home? Join our
master gardeners, community stewards, conservationists and artists to discuss
PICK A PROJECT
and join the friends of Blacks in
61st Street Tree Canopy Facilitator,
Melissa Custic earned her
Master's degree in Plant Biology and Conservation at Northwestern University
while also working in the Chicago Region Tree Initiative at The Morton Arboretum. After
spending two years pursuing a Ph.D. at UIC in Ecology and Evolution, she decided
to switch fields to have a wider impact. She has since joined the Community
Trees Program at the Morton Arboretum as the Chicago Region Trees Initiative
John Legge returned
to The Nature
Conservancy in 2015 after two
years working on urban and coastal conservation with the Coastal Management
Program at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Prior to that, he
worked for The Nature Conservancy's Michigan Chapter for 15 years in various
roles, principally as West Michigan Conservation Director leading freshwater and
coastal restoration projects. In his current role, John is responsible for
shaping and implementing the Conservancy's urban program, including restoration
of natural areas, urban forestry, storm water issues and community engagement.
John earned a B.S. in biology at Westminster College and an M.S. in Entomology
from Cornell University.
Fruit & Nut Orchard on Vacant
Lisa Hilgenberg manages the Chicago Botanic Garden's 3.8 acre
Fruit and Vegetable Garden following USDA protocol and standards for organic
growing. Leading a crew of three and a team of 30 horticulture volunteers, she
curates and interprets a collection of 500 edible plants and two orchards and
also designs and installs large seasonal annual displays. Last year 55,000
vegetables grew in the Fruit and Vegetable Garden producing a harvest of two
tons of fresh produce. Lisa mentors interns from the Chicago Botanic Garden's
urban agriculture program, Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program, College
First-Chicago Public Schools and The French Heritage Society. She teaches
certificate classes and workshops at Garden for adults and is a contributor to
Weekly Gardening Minute on WBBM/CBS Chicago 780 AM and 105.9 FM. Lisa has a BA
from Gustavus Adolphus College, University of Iowa, and a professional
horticulture certification from the Joseph Regenstein School of the Chicago
PlacemakingFacilitator, William Hill
Mecca Brooks is an Arts
Practitioner and urban grower. Mecca's work meets at the intersections of
sustainability and community with an emphasis on public space, emerging artists,
urban gardens and human development. The core of her practice is centered in
collaboration, social navigation, and awakened doing. Mecca commits to
organizations and projects, who at the core of their work, honor the many
notions of transformation and that are inclusive of all indigenous Beings.
Mecca's current affiliations include Revival Arts Collective, Bronzeville Community
Garden, Bronzeville Bikes, and Sacred Keepers Sustainability
Lab. Past projects include the creation of the Chicago Climate
Action Toolkit: Bronzeville and See Potential Chicago. Mecca is certified in
Sustainable Urban Agriculture and has a MA in Arts, Entertainment and Media
Management from Columbia College Chicago.
Jacqueline Smith is an urban vegetable gardener, earth steward, and
owner of GrowAsis Urban Garden
Consulting Inc. on Chicago's south
side. Her expertise is in environmental sustainable garden practices with
specialization in youth focused garden activities. She holds a B.S. degree in
agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota, with an M.S. in public
service from DePaul University, and training hours from the University of
Illinois Extension Master Gardener program. Her research on food security in
Chicago has played a significant role in her entrepreneurial journey of
empowering city residents to grow their own produce through organic
Shuangshuang Wu is a landscape
associate designer at Chicago based firm of HSLA. She is a 2011 graduate of
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with distinction. Since joining
HSLA, Shuangshuang has contributed to a diverse range of commercial projects,
including urban design, public parks, campus planning and design, commercial
green roof, and mixed-use commercial streetscape development.
2. Get down and dirty in Earth Month planting 50 trees in West
registering for more than five people please send an email or call 312-863-6271
BLIGHT TO BEAUTY!
Register to join us as we continue transforming beauty to blight by
planting 50 parkway and orchard trees in the Blacks in Green home neighborhood
of West Woodlawn. Gather in a previously vacant lot turned urban oasis to work
with us in our West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm Initiative. We
will replace parkway trees lost to damage and disease, beautify vacant lots as
well as plant community fruit and nut trees. Above
left - our
first lot transformation. Above
right - the project you're invited to launch with us on April
What To Wear/Bring
Boots or sturdy shoes that support the foot. * Dress appropriately
for the day's weather (hat for sun, rain jacket, layers, clothes that can get
dirty). * Bring a water bottle and additional snacks.
What We Provide
Introduction to projects, work activities, and safety talk. * Work tools
and first aid kit. * Snacks and water for refilling your water
to know the backstory? Here's where our journey
the proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, I understood the
connection between today's "new" green economy and yesterday's conservation
lifestyle...between the Victory Gardens of the boomers and today's boom in
My Granny, Adelia Thompson Siggers of Minter City, Mississippi, is the lady in
the hat, suit, gloves.
green-village-building requires that neighbors build a sustainable economic
epicenter within their "walkable-village."
our economic epicenter, we launched the West Woodlawn Botanic Garden &
Village Farm Initiative - celebrating the southern roots and modern day assets
of the neighborhood - Chicago's first Black middle-class neighborhood, and the
southernmost tip of Bronzeville.
you know Bronzeville is an international tourism destination?
American heritage is powerfully embodied in what many consider America's
greatest under-told story:
Great Migration - the mass movement of millions of African Americans from the
south to the north in search of freedom and economic opportunity! We're
celebrating its Centennial in 2016 with BIG's "Artists Writers Gardeners Healers
West Woodlawn Champagne Sip, Speaker Series & Walking Tour in
Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission.
had brainstormed the concept through a 2 1/2 year process called "Green &
Healthy Neighborhoods," coordinated through Chicago's Department of Housing
& Economic Development.
launched the concept at a community party in 2011 and launched our first garden
in 2013, partnering with The Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Botanic
Gardens, Angelic Organics Learning Center, and others.
It was our "Year of the Backyard Garden" and we used First Lady Michelle
Obama's American Grown as our
key teaching tool
We promote the local living economy as a greenhouse gas
reduction strategy. Walking promotes health and relationship-building, which
fosters community resilience. With it we increase the rate at which
neighbor-owned businesses are created and sustained; increase the capacity of neighbors to
own, develop, and manage the property in their community; and advance the
conservation lifestyle. In these ways community wealth circulates vigorously
before exiting and the heritage of a place is preserved.
We're working to build a network of land stewards to help
us restore our place in the world. Three captains per zone will receive agricultural and
horticultural training and stipends to teach, organize, and cultivate the
gardens and parkways in their zone.
Our first Land Stewards-in-training received scholarships
to Openland's Tree Keepers class and will graduate on March 28, 2015.