Young Filmmakers Workshops Expand Outreach

Young Filmmakers Workshops Expand Outreach

Six One Earth Young Filmmakers Workshops started in the heat of summer, on August 11, and finished up amid a winter chill on December 9. Recent art school graduates and accomplished, award-winning film directors taught content, which ranged from stop-motion to live action.

Jonathan Moeller Will Teach Young Filmmakers Workshops

Jonathan Moeller Will Teach Young Filmmakers Workshops

“Filmmakers can shape the future,” says filmmaker and teacher, Jonathan Moeller. “Film and video has the power to expose wrongdoings, right doings, and the cultural context that comes with it.”

Jonathan will teach the Young Filmmakers Live Action Workshops at the River Forest Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave., in early December from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Young Filmmakers Workshops Taught Animation and More

Young Filmmakers Workshops Taught Animation and More

Kids in grades 3 to 8 went to the moon, the beach, and a New Year’s Eve party via green screen animation during this year’s One Earth Young Filmmakers Workshops. Held in early December, three workshops taught kids filmmaking skills just for fun and to encourage them enter the One Earth Young Filmmakers Contest.

Kids Learn Filmmaking from Professionals

Kids Learn Filmmaking from Professionals

Middle and elementary school students can learn about video, lighting, audio and editing at two Young Filmmakers Workshops from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 6 (grades 6 to 8) and Dec. 13 (grades 3 to 5). Two Chicago-area film industry professionals, director Andrew Freer and editor Lucy Coria, will lead the workshops. They have planned a “hands-on, learning by doing” experience for participants.

Connect to Action: Young Filmmakers Contest & Filmmaking Workshop

Connect to Action:  Young Filmmakers Contest & Filmmaking Workshop

What part of the Earth do you love best, and how can you protect it?  That's the central question of the third annual "One Earth ... Our Earth" Young Filmmakers Contest, which challenges young people (grade 3 through college) to examine environmental issues through the lens of their own ideas and creativity. Here's an example:  "Let’s Talk About Water," by Lea Kichler,  the 2013 winner of the high school category.

Elgin High School Students Hold National Biodiversity Teach-in 9/22-26

We here at GCC are inspired by a group of students from Elgin High School who are putting on a National Biodiversity Teach-in. The Teach-in is "virtual," meaning the Elgin Biodiversity Teach In 2students are hosting a series of webinars with professionals from all over the country September 22 through 26, 2014. This project, "by students, for students,"  aims at raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity.'s a term that's not used very much in the mass media, but it's so important to our planet and our own species' future. These kids recognize that, and want to help by putting on a virtual "teach-in" for other students at other schools. Their goal is for 10,000 students across the country to participate.

Their website says the students were inspired by the story of Martha, the last known living Passenger Pigeon who died on September 1st, 1914. The National Biodiversity Teach-In marks the 100th anniversary of Martha’s death.

More than 15 well-known national and local speakers will cover topics like:

  • Oaks and Biodiversity
  • The Trouble with Balloons
  • Batty for Bats
  • Biodiversity and Resilience
  • Marine Mammals

So here's your Connect to Action mission for this month...if you are a teacher or know a teacher, pass these links on to them and encourage them to learn more:

Website: Email: Facebook: Twitter:

Seeking Oak Park/River Forest Native Plant Gardens for Upcoming Tour


Green Community Connections and West Cook Wild Ones are collaborating on a local native plant garden tour on Sunday, September 7, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.(tentatively), and we are seeking Oak Park and River Forest home and public (libraries, churches, schools) landscapes to be included on our tour.

The tour’s focus will be on landscapes using native plants (i.e., plants indigenous to Illinois, pre-settlement). This tour is meant for a wide audience of people, from those who currently have no native plants in their yards to people who are very knowledgeable about natives and are looking for more ideas. We would like to feature established native plant gardens as well as those that are “in progress” or are transitioning from non-natives to natives.

Below are some types of gardens we aim to include on the tour; if you think you (or your neighbor or friend’s or business or church’s) garden fits one--or more--of these categories (loosely or partially is ok), please complete the form below or send an email with your garden address and type, along with your phone number to: by Monday, August 4.

  • Native landscape1 (2)Starter Garden: yards where homeowners are just beginning to add native plants to landscapes that may include traditional lawns, evergreens and annuals

  • Fixer Uppers: gardens that are transitioning--they’ve gone beyond adding a few natives and are following a more robust plan of replacing non-natives with natives

  • Pretty as Petunias (but without the work): these can be colorful, low maintenance and less resource-intensive

  • Formal Attire: native plants in traditional, formal garden design

  • Kids in the Garden: gardens that have children as co-caretakers

  • What’s Blooming Now:  featuring fall blooming natives

  • Food for All:  includes native edible plants for humans

  • Mixed Company: established gardens that show off attractive mixes of non-natives and natives

  • Purely Prairie & Woodland Wonders:  yards that try to recreate native ecosystems, the major ones being prairies (full sun), savannah (part sun), and woodland (shade), although an ecosystem is not defined strictly by light requirements

  • Block Party: whole block or stretch of a block that features natives

  • We Care about Carex:  sedge lawns

  • Living Lawn Free:  yards with no turf grass

  • Plants with Wet Feet:  rain gardens and bioswales

  • Not Just a Pretty Face:  habitat gardens that provide for wildlife; can also be focused on attracting particular animals such as butterflies, birds, bats, pollinators

  • Wild Card: Is there something we’ve missed? Do you have a fabulous native garden that has some other special feature? Please contact us!

If your garden is included in the tour, there will be several options for your participation. We realize that some people may enjoy guiding visitors through their garden; others would prefer less involvement. There will be a member of Wild Ones and possibly a Master Gardener at each site helping with logistics for your site (except at gardens under option 3, below).  The choice is yours, and we’ll provide you with tour-preparation guidelines in any case. Please consider whether:

GoldFinch1. You’d like to lead people through your garden;

2. You would prefer that a Wild Ones volunteer or Master Gardener lead people through your garden; or

3. You would like your garden to be included as a  “bike by” or “drive by” site only.  Guests would only view from the sidewalk or street.

Because time is of the essence--the tour date is just six weeks away!--we need to know if you are interested in being included in the tour by Monday, August 4.  Please complete the form below indicating your interest in participating (or send an email to with garden address and type, along with your phone number). Someone will be in contact with you about next steps shortly after we hear from you.  Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have about participating in the tour (you may phone Sally Stovall at 773-315-1109).

Thank you very much for considering being included in what we hope will be an annual event for learning about native gardening and expansion of our local wildlife corridor!  For more information about Green Community Connections or Wild Ones, please visit our websites/Facebook pages: ; ; [contact-form-7 id="12358" title="2014 Native Plant Tour Contact Form"]

Watermelons, Pelicans and Gardens...Oh My!


We feel your pain...this frosty winter has inspired severe bouts of cabin fever. Parents are feeling it, and kids are, too. The One Earth Film Festival presents several opportunities for kids to get out of the house and explore another world...through the magic of film and community!

browncowlogoMany films in the One Earth Film Festival lineup will appeal to teenage viewers, but the festival will also  present five programs specifically designed for kids ages 14 and under. These events are free, but seating is limited (some are already at or near capacity!). Reservations are highly recommended.

One Earth...Our Earth Young Filmmakers Contest

The festival will feature the winners of the second annual One Earth…Our Earth Young Filmmakers Contest. On Saturday, March 8 at 1:00 pm at Beye Elementary School (230 N. Cuyler, Oak Park, IL), three winning film teams will receive awards! Come watch their films and talk to the young filmmakers about their work. Along with an award certificate, each winning team will receive prize money plus a matching grant check to the non-profit organization of their choice that is working on a sustainability topic.


In the High School category the Hinsdale Central Ecology Club won top prize for “What Will You Do?” a film about transportation. Filmmakers Stephanie Jamilla, Josh Feldman, Rachel Chang, and Wendy Li attend Hinsdale Central High School in Hindsdale, IL.

In the Middle School category, a group called Pineapple Productions won top prize for “Earth 2114,” a film about water usage and resources. Fimmakers Ana Shack, Lillian Lowson, Marta Rohner, Isabella Saracco Haley Gladden and Cia Gladden  attend Roosevelt Middle school in River Forest, IL.

In the Elementary School category, Willard Elementary School (River Forest, IL) students Jaxon Toppen, Danny Scholvin and Ray Deogracias won top prize for  “Where Did The Rest of Us Go?” a film about electronic waste.

Saving Pelican 895

SavingPelican_2Ellen Cutter, Children’s Outreach Coordinator for the River Forest Public Library, will return to the festival again this year with activities designed to get kids creatively engaged with the themes in the films.

After viewing Saving Pelican 895 on Saturday, March 8 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at Beye Elementary School in Oak Park, Cutter will lead kids ages 10 to 14 in a facilitated discussion. She will also lead activities with a large parachute to demonstrate the concepts of free movement versus the effects of oil slicks. Kids will also be able to look through a range of books about oil spills, wildlife rescue, and more.

Saving Pelican 895 chronicles the efforts of wildlife rescue experts in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, when nearly 9,000 birds were found in the oily waters of the Gulf Coast.  

This film will also screen on Sunday, March 9 from 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm at the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, 7347 Madison St., Forest Park, IL.

Lost and Found

Lost and FoundAfter watching Lost and Found on Saturday, March 8 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Beye Elementary School in Oak Park, Ellen Cutter of River Forest Library will invite children ages 3 to 9 to play with a large parachute to learn about waves. Parents and children can also peruse related library books specially selected by Cutter.

A magical tale of friendship and loneliness, Lost and Found tells the story of a little boy who finds a penguin on the doorstep of his house one morning. After much thought, the boy decides to help the penguin find his way back home, which means rowing a small boat all the way to the South Pole!

Watermelon Magic / The Curious Garden 

Children ages 3-11 will enjoy two delightful films at the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor in Forest Park on Sunday, March 9 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. After the films, children will be led in a facilitated discussion. A resource table by the Oak Park Conservatory will promote upcoming programming, including free Saturday drop-in activities. Each child can take home a free packet of watermelon or sunflower seeds.

Watermelon Magic

Curious Garden

Watermelon Magic chronicles a season on the family farm, as young Sylvie grows a patch of watermelons to sell at market.  The Curious Garden, based on  the award-winning book by Peter Brown, portrays one boy’s quest for a greener world … one garden at a time. A little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.

Seating is limited at these events, especially at The Brown Cow.  Please reserve your free tickets today!

New Logo MedSpecial thanks to River Forest Library for their support and assistance in presenting children's programming at One Earth Film Festival 2014!

2014 Young Filmmakers Contest Winners

FilmFest-logo-contest2014-web(1)The One Earth…Our Earth Young Filmmakers Contest is pleased and proud to announce the winners for 2014!
  • High School category: Hinsdale Central Ecology Club. “What Will You Do?” A film about transportation by:  Stephanie Jamilla, Josh Feldman, Rachel Chang, and Wendy Li.  Young Filmmakers attend Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, Illinois.
  • Middle School category: Pineapple Productions: Ana Shack, Lillian Lowson, Marta Rohner, Isabella Saracco Haley Gladden and Cia Gladden.  "Earth 2114." A film about water usage and resources.  Young Filmmakers attend:  Roosevelt Middle school in River Forest, Illinois.
  • Elementary School category: Jaxon Toppen, Danny Scholvin and Ray Deogracias. "Where Did The Rest of Us Go?" A film about electronic waste.  Young Filmmakers attend:  Willard Elementary School in River Forest, Illinois.
Screening of all films will be held at Beye School in Oak Park Saturday March 8th at 1pm.  Screenings will be followed by an award ceremony and an opportunity to speak with the young filmmakers.