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Who We Are

Green Community Connections provides a place to tap into conversations about sustainability issues and to identify concrete steps you can take. We believe change is both necessary and possible and the best way to get there is together. Learn more About Us.

Some of Our Favorite Natives and Shrubs

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Okay, maybe not that kind of favorite things, but we asked some local native plant, bird and butterfly lovers, “What is your favorite native shrub or tree?”  Here are some of their answers. . .

American Hazelnut (Corylus americana):  Katy says she loves the Hazelnut because the flower is so pretty.  She cautions however that finding a hazelnut is like finding a hundred dollar bill to a squirrel, so plant them only if you are open to welcoming squirrels to your yard.

American Hazelnut

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Solar Garage Featured in Illinois Solar Tour

“If you’re doing a project anyway, think of it [solar energy] as doable … not to assume that it’s far-reaching and the future. It’s now,” said Ana Garcia Doyle, who also directs the One Earth Film Festival. Photo by Cheryl Scott.

Ana Garcia Doyle and Jim Doyle’s garage was falling apart, the slab was cracked, and they had received citations. They knew they wanted to add solar panels to a new garage they planned on building behind their Oak Park home. At first, they thought about creating a carport, an open structure that could hold solar panels on top and could be closed off on the alley side, Ana said. However, in order for Ana and Jim to fit enough solar panels to provide 100 percent of their home’s electricity and for the garage to be at an optimal pitch to capture the sun’s rays, the structure would have to be much taller than a typical garage. Therefore, Ana and Jim decided to build a large, two-story garage with a greenhouse attached and a top floor that could be used as an office or a room for community meetings.

Their solar garage that they completed in late 2017 will be on display at the 2018 Illinois Solar Energy Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday,  Sept. 22. The Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) is holding the free open house of sites throughout the state to show how residents are using renewable energy at their homes and businesses. Eight of the tour sites are in Oak Park. Ana and Jim will share their story of choosing solar energy for their garage, as well as information on the geothermal system that they installed in their house in 2012.

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Invest 1 Hour to Save Money & Energy All Year Long

Sam Martin, an engineer with the Energy Efficiency Program, visits homes to replace all light bulbs with long-lasting, warm LED bulbs, at no charge. Call 888-652-2955.

What if someone told you they would give you over $100 worth of LED light bulbs, install them without charge, each bulb would last 22 years, and this would save you over $100 annually on your electric bill, as well as 900 kilowatt hours of electricity each year?

You would say, “I’ll take it.” Right?

Commonwealth Edison, in collaboration with your gas company, offers an Energy Efficiency Program with lots of freebies, in addition to LED light bulbs. Just set up an appointment by calling 888-652-2955, as I did in August. The only investment on your part is about an hour of your time.

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Help Build a Better World for Birds!

Plants for Birds from Audubon.org on Vimeo.

Shop the Native Shrub & Tree Sale. Bring more birds to your yard!

2018 is the Year of the Bird, designated by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, and other bird-loving organizations. They are inviting bird-lovers to “help build a better world for birds by taking a simple but meaningful action each month.”

What better action to take in September than to add native shrubs or trees to your yard? These plants will provide benefits to birds for years to come, especially as experts predict climate change will imperil 314 bird species, which is nearly 1 out of every 2 birds in the U.S.

This year’s Native Shrub & Tree sale, which is sponsored by Green Community Connections in collaboration with West Cook Wild Ones, offers 22 species of shrubs and trees that are listed on the Audubon Native Plants Database for this area. The database shows which birds are attracted to which species, and they are all plants that provide important bird resources.

Order today through September 22.

Pick up your orders on Saturday, September 29,
at Euclid Ave. United Methodist parking lot,
405 S. Euclid Ave., Oak Park.
Find details about pick-up, planting and more: greencommunityconnections.org/native-shrub-tree-sale

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Park District Will Get $100,000 IF 1,000 Residents Take Sustainability Pledge

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Green Mountain Energy (GME) Sun Club is partnering with the Park District of Oak Park to provide $100,000 for solar panels, rain harvesting, tea composting and bees at the Oak Park Conservatory.

To secure these funds, the Park District needs your help. Click on the link below to identify actions you and your family will take to help make our community more sustainable and contribute to the overall health of Mother Earth.

https://www.pdop.org/sunclubpledge

https://www.pdop.org/about/environment/take-action/

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Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors from the One Earth Film Festival.