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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.

Why the Proposed Expansion of I-290 is a Bad Idea

By: Dan Knickelbein, OPRF High School Class of 2010

In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower had a bold plan to unite America using federally built interstates. What resulted from his plan is now the largest highway system in the world, and one of Chicagoland’s largest expressways, I-290, is named after the President who had the vision to transform America’s transportation system. However, after capably serving America’s transportation needs for more than 50 years, it is time to focus our energy and resources on public and sustainable forms of transportation, like buses, trains, and bicycling, and away from the traditional system of moving cars. That is why the proposed extension of I-290 from six to eight lanes between Mannheim Road and Austin Boulevard is a misguided idea, and should not be carried out. Instead the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) should focus its time and money on public transit projects, such as extending CTA Blue Line service to Oak Brook, or adding an express bus route from Austin Blvd direct to the Loop.

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The Birds (Chickens) and the Bees

By Melanie Weiss

At the June 20 Oak Park Village Board Meeting, the board voted 6-1 to lift the village’s longstanding ban on beekeeping.

KC Poulos, Sustainability Manager for the Village, said village staff will now draft a beekeeping ordinance to present to the village board for their final approval. She expects the ordinance will come before the board in the fall.

The village does have an ordinance that allows the keeping of chickens, and recently there has been a resurgent interest among residents in housing chickens in their backyards.

Oak Park Farmers’ Market Manager Meredith Conn has a backyard chicken coop with two chickens, Esmeralda and Rhubarb. She said the chickens lay an egg every day and are “easy and fun to watch.” She did caution that they like to dig up her backyard plantings so she recently restricted them from roaming freely in the whole backyard.

Conn noted that two of her neighbors are also raising chickens and she knows another handful of Oak Parkers getting their eggs fresh from the chicken coops they have in their backyards!

One Oak Parker has even made this her business — and business is booming!  Jennifer Murtoff, of Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting, offers information and advice on raising chickens in an urban environment. She can be reached through her website: www.urbanchickenconsultant.wordpress.com

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PlanItGreen – Sustainability Plan Release Celebration, June 23rd

June will mark the end of the development phase and the beginning of the implementation phase of the PlanItGreen Sustainability plan for Oak Park and River Forest.  The plan has been developed over the last 8 months with input from over 1,000 residents and community stakeholders.  PlanItGreen is part of the OPRF Community Foundation’s Communityworks initiative, which was designed to engage community residents and stakeholder organizations in realizing a vision for a sustainable Oak Park and River Forest.

Plan to join with others committed to building a resilient and sustainable community for the release of the Oak Park-River Forest Sustainability Plan, on Thursday, June 23rd, 4-6pm.  The event includes an Open House with light refreshments and and a walk-about featuring the primary topic areas of the plan, and an official presentation of the plan starting at 5pm.  Location:  Pleasant Home, 217 Home Avenue in Oak Park.

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Oak Park Earth Fest 2011 – Video Highlights


View highlights of the 2011 Oak Park Earth Fest which was held on May 21st this year.  Earth Fest is a gathering of eco-friendly vendors, community groups, children’s activities and live entertainment. The mission is to educate and inform people on how to live “greener” lives.

River Forest: Greening Together — the Latest on What’s Happening Around Town

Posted by Sue Crothers

A lot is happening in our little town on the sustainability front.  So much, in fact that it’s hard to know where to start!

The River Forest Park District Foundation in collaboration with the River Forest Library just held a wonderfully attended and informative evening, “Your Grandma was a Locavore.” This was the final presentation in a 5 part series called, The Thoughtful Living Series, where the Library hosted discussions on various topics, from native gardening to zero waste school lunches.  The latest presentation was given by Growing Power, a local Mid-West non-profit that provides locally grown produce, educates and works with inner city kids to teach them how to produce their own food, supports local famers, builds greenhouses and the list goes on.  Check them out at www.growingpower.org The Thoughtful Living Series has been so successful that it will return to the Library in the fall, with an array of more wonderful and helpful ‘Thoughtful Living’ ideas.

Many people have heard something or know much about the PlanItGreen Sustainability Plan, and if they don’t they will soon!  Seven Generations Ahead, together with the Delta Institute, presented the Plan to the River Forest Board of Trustees along with the River Forest Service Club last week.  The idea is that the Governing bodies, schools and organizations in River Forest (and Oak Park) formally adopt and support the Plan so that we can work toward reducing waste, saving energy and water and looking to a brighter, more sustainable future in our Communities.

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