Tuesday, March 24, 2015

IT'S GREEN! IT'S HEALTHY! IT'S BEAUTIFUL! IT'S BIG! CelebratingSpring With Green-Village-Building Activities At This Saturday's WoodlawnSummit!


Get Up
Get Out
Get It On!
...spring into action with BIG
Hey! Let's Move!
Get GROWING this year
with a Green & Healthy Neighborhood
that keeps just keeps on bloomin'...
1. Take a Breakout at the Summit this Saturday...Register!
Woodlawn Summit
Green & Beautiful
BIG Breakout Session
Want to transform an eyesore in your neighborhood? Come learn how to create community gardens & gathering places; how tree lined streets can improve your health and property value.
Are you aiming to improve the curb appeal of your home? Join our master gardeners, community stewards, conservationists and artists to discuss beautifying Woodlawn!
and join the friends of Blacks in Green!
  • 61st Street Tree Canopy Facilitator, Danielle Kilpatrick
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 Coordinator.
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 Lots Facilitator, Melanie Moore
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 Botanic Garden.
Placemaking Facilitator, 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.
Vegetable & Flower Gardens Facilitator, Bill Morrissett
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 methods.
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 Woodlawn!
Openlands Tree Keepers & Blacks in Green
Orchard And Parkway Planting
April 25, 2015
6011 S Street Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
Rain or shine/dress for the weather
Refreshments/snacks served
When registering for more than five people please send an email or call 312-863-6271

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 25th!
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 bottles.
Want to know the backstory? Here's where our journey began....
As 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 backyard gardening.
P.S. My Granny, Adelia Thompson Siggers of Minter City, Mississippi, is the lady in the hat, suit, gloves.
BIG's green-village-building requires that neighbors build a sustainable economic epicenter within their "walkable-village."
As 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.
Did you know Bronzeville is an international tourism destination?
African American heritage is powerfully embodied in what many consider America's greatest under-told story:
The 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 Builders" -
a West Woodlawn Champagne Sip, Speaker Series & Walking Tour in conjunction with
The Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission.
We had brainstormed the concept through a 2 1/2 year process called "Green & Healthy Neighborhoods," coordinated through Chicago's Department of Housing & Economic Development.
We 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
...and still do!
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.

Join us as we transform blight to beauty with BIG's West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm Initiative.
Get training you can take back to your neighborhood.
Meet everyday activists working to create a walkable-village where they live the conservation lifestyle - the beautiful life -
and walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play within a "City of Villages."
See you on March 28th?
See you on April 25th?
Register and come get your green on!

...for a fun overview of our work...
A Fable from the Future of 2050
Naomi Davis: Revitalizing Chicago
Naomi Davis: Revitalizing Chicago
Chicago Ideas Week 2011

Our future is now,
Naomi Davis JD LEED GA
Founder & CEO
BIG: Blacks in Green

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