Celebrate the Earth This April

By Lisa Biehle Files

Clean up the Des Plaines River, recycle your old electronics, or learn more about composting this April in honor of Earth Month. Opportunities for action, education, and fun are legion in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. Peruse the events below, and be sure to check out the calendar for even more opportunities. Green Tuesdays in the Village 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays in April Oak Park Public Library 834 Lake St., Oak Park This tenth annual public lecture series will focus on the unique local environmental challenges of our time. Sponsored by the Oak Park Environment & Energy Commission.

Tuesday, April 7:  State of the Environment: Oak Park 2015

Tuesday, April 14:  Environmental Potpourri: Native Plants; Pesticide Avoidance; Gardens; Backyard Composting/Organics Collection Program

Tuesday, April 21:   Talk About Trees: Our Urban Forestry Programs and the Updated Parkway Tree Inventory

Tuesday, April 28:   Storm Water Management; Rain Barrel Program

Make a Difference Day 9:30 to noon Saturday, April 18 River Forest Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave., River Forest

All neighboring communities are invited to Make A Difference Day by creating teams and bringing families to participate in a cleanup of the Des Plaines River. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Park District Depot, 401 Thatcher Ave., to collect a large garbage bag before heading over to Thatcher Woods. After the cleanup, teams return to the Depot where they will enjoy lunch provided by the Park District.

There will be prizes for the top three weirdest garbage items collected and free compost demonstrations along with the roll out of the Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family Program. Residents of River Forest will have the opportunity to sign the “Pledge.” Environmental leaders will share their Healthy Lawn, Healthy Family tips to those who live in neighboring communities and have come to participate in this greening the community event.

For more information or to sign up your team, visit this link.

"Just Eat It" 2015 Festival Choice Winner: Free Earth Day Film Screening & Panel Discussion 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22nd Columbia College Film Row Cinema 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor, Chicago

"Just Eat It," an award-winning documentary about food, food waste and food rescue was selected as the One Earth Film Festival's 2015 Festival Choice Winner. A five-person jury of filmmakers and environmentalists screened the top three audience-choice films to select "Just Eat It" for city-wide screening. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts in a One Earth Film Festival partnership with the City of Chicago and the Institute of Cultural Affairs, as the City's official Earth Day celebration. Admission is free but registration is highly recommended. See herefor details and to register.

Back to the Future Earth Fest 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25 Oak Park Public Works Center (LEED Gold-Certified Building) 201 South Blvd., Oak Park

Oak Park’s annual celebration of green living and learning will focus on green neighborhoods, sustainable lifestyles and best practices with the theme Back to the Future. Enjoy kids’ games, items for sale, food trucks, and entertainment. Information booths will highlight those practices of yesteryear that have become popular today, such as gardening and composting.

A behind-the-scenes Open House at the Public Works Center will give children an opportunity to sit in a truck to learn firsthand about village services. Please bring old eyeglasses, sun glasses, hearing aids, rechargeable batteries, and cell phones for Recycle Alley.

Recycling Extravaganza 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 2 River Forest United Methodist Church 7970 Lake Street, River Forest

Drive through the parking lot, entering from Lake Street, to drop off electronics, scrap metal, batteries, prescription medications (no liquids), and miscellaneous items. More details below. Apparel of all types, in any condition, will also be accepted.

No refrigerators, mattresses, cribs, car seats, plastic ride on toys or hazardous materials, please. Sponsored by District 90’s Green4Good Committee. Please consider donating to this free event as you drive through. For more information, visit district90.org.

Electronics include computers, televisions, radios, VCRs, DVD players, toasters, blenders, electric coffee makers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners (take out the dust collection bag, please), monitors, cell phones, answering machines, scanners, printers, keyboards, hard drives, copiers, cable boxes/modems, circuit boards, switches, cameras, projectors, insulated wire/cable, power supplies, de-humidifiers and air conditioners.

Scap Metal includes radiators, metal lawn furniture, metal hangers, rusty swing sets, metal garbage cans, metal garden tools, water heaters, metal railings, metal pots and pans, gutters, metal shovels, metal shelving, metal wagons, metal pipes, metal wheel barrows, metal chicken wire, tomato cages and auto radiators.

Batteries include A-C-D-9 volt, Ni-Cad-Lithium, button, car, motorcycle, sump pump, computer back up, boat, lawn mower and rechargeable.

Miscellaneous includes musical instruments, keys, rulers, pencils, crayons, usable spiral notebooks, yarn, rubber stamps, buttons, ink jet cartridges, CFL bulbs (fluorescent tubes), tattered and torn American flags for proper retirement, corks, eye glasses, hearing aids, propane and oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, working and non-working bikes, sewing machines, regular wheelchairs (non-electric), bike helmets, pet items, leashes, collars, crates and blankets.